Construction of new dorm, demolition of Forbes to cost $64 million

Construction of residence halls, the purchase of farmland and utility deficits were discussed at a meeting of the Board of Trustees’ Audit, Budget, Finance and Facilities Committee on Tuesday. This committee meets approximately 10 days before each Board meeting.

Robert L. Plankenhorn, director of capital financing for the University, discussed the Ikenberry Commons demolition plan. He said the project is in its third stage.

The second brand-new residence hall is currently being built and will offer 450 rooms, Plankenhorn said. Forbes Hall will also be demolished as part of the plan, he added.

“Those two projects have the cost of approximately $64 million,” Plankenhorn said.

The finalization of the budget for fiscal year 2012 was also discussed.. They debated ways to save money and to keep spending in control. They also talked about the ability to meet payroll next year.

Adjustments to the self-insurance plan for medical workers at the University were looked at.

The University council recommended lowering the insurance cost to $1 million per claim, said Peter Newman, assistant vice president for treasury operations at the University.

Trustees also wanted to modernize the infrastructure and the technology at the University of Illinois Medical Center and the College of Dentistry at the Chicago campus.

One of the changes that was recommended was the renewal of the electronic medical record that is the “heart and soul” of the medical center, which contains all of the patient information and is used for billing.

The Brunetti Foundation is donating $5 million toward the purchases of dental equipment and furnishings for the clinics for the College of Dentistry.

The University also acquired some more farmland that is closer to campus in the land exchange that the College of ACES currently utilizes.

Research Park at the University would also be designated as an area for further development.

Also, the University system acquired numerous financial audits that have yet to be dealt with.

The financial problems are partially due to the fact that the utilities budget in the University system has been running a deficit, said Doug Beckmann, senior associate vice president of business and finance for the University.

“There were five years in a row that we ran significant utility deficits when gas prices spiked,” Beckman said.

The Urbana campus has a utility deficit of $71 million, the Chicago campus has a deficit of $19 million and the Springfield campus has a deficit of $1 million, Beckman said.

“All three campuses have plans to eliminate the deficit over time,” he said. “Obviously the Urbana deficit will take the most time.”