University of Missouri to cut space as state money declines
COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — The University of Missouri is cutting down on building space to reduce maintenance costs following concerns about state budget cuts for higher education.
University planners have identified where to divest and demolish campus buildings in an effort to remove 750,000 square feet (70,000 square meters) of space by the 2023-2024 school year, the Columbia Missourian reported.
The proposal, which was presented to the university’s Faculty Council on Thursday, excludes residence halls and athletic facilities, instead focusing on buildings funded through tuition or state money. The goal is to bring the school’s total building space in line with its operations budget.
The Alton Building and Green Building have already been divested to the university’s health system under the plan. The Fine Arts Annex has been demolished and will be replaced by a new School of Music. The university will also divest an 80-year-old building that once housed the first state cancer hospital west of the Mississippi River, Mizzou North.
Gerald Morgan, the university’s director of space planning and management, also recommended other space reduction methods, such as online classes, shared conference rooms and working from home.
“We have to do something different because we are going to continue to not get the money we need from the state for maintenance,” Morgan told faculty members. “That continues to dwindle.”
The Columbia campus eliminated nearly 200 jobs last June amid stagnant state appropriations.
The state also recently reported that its revenues are down by 4.3% compared to last fiscal year. Gov. Mike Parson may have to make budget cuts should Missouri fail to meet revenue targets used to craft this year’s spending plan.
Information from: Columbia Missourian, http://www.columbiamissourian.com