Campus Connection

News for the WIU Community February 17, 2006   Vol. 21 No. 11

IBHE Recommends FY2007 Budget for Western, Approves Projects

Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE) announced budget recommendations at its Feb. 7 meeting that call for an increase in general revenue funds for Western Illinois University, funding for a Performing Arts Center on Western’s Macomb campus and funds for the renovation of the new Western Quad Cities Riverfront Campus.

“We are happy that the recommendations continue to support our highest priorities: salaries for faculty and staff and our most-anticipated capital projects, the Performing Arts Center and the Quad Cities Riverfront Campus expansion,” said Western President Al Goldfarb. “The University understands the state’s economic challenges, and we are aware that the IBHE’s funding recommendation is an indication of the support for our efforts to continue to provide a high quality educational experience for our students in Macomb and in the Quad Cities.”

The IBHE staff recommended an FY2007 operating budget for Western of $108,890,400, compared to the current FY2006 operating budget of $103,154,100. State resources would increase slightly from $56,391,100 to $57,029,300; however, Western’s Board of Trustees has not yet set tuition rates for next year’s new freshmen and will do so at its March meeting. Tuition, fees, room and board for the new freshmen class is guaranteed for four years and will not increase during their four years of continuous enrollment.

Capital IBHE recommendations propose $29,885,000 for the first phase of planning and preliminary construction of a 110,000-square-foot performing arts center with a 1,900-seat proscenium theatre auditorium, a 300-seat thrust stage and a 150-seat studio theatre for student convocations, College of Fine Arts and Communication recitals, Bureau of Cultural Affairs performing arts series events, lectures, graduation ceremonies and local arts and civic functions. The total cost of the facility to be located in the southwest quadrant of campus is $61,571,400, including a prior allocation of $4 million for planning (not yet released) and a future allocation of $27,686,400 million.

Funds of $13,801,500 for the remodeling of the 60,000square-foot former John Deere Tech Center on River Drive in Moline were included in the FY2007 recommendations as part of Opportunity Returns. The total cost of developing the Riverfront Campus facility is $16.4 million, including a prior allocation of $200,000. Last month Gov. Rod Blagojevich released  $2.4 million in Opportunity Returns planning funds to help renovate the Riverfront Campus.

The IBHE staff recommendations also include $1,584,400 for capital renewal projects, repair and maintenance funding at Western. Recommendations approved by the IBHE are forwarded to the Governor and Illinois General Assembly for action during the legislative session.

In addition, the IBHE approved the installation of fire sprinkler systems in Western’s residential facilities and expansion of the Donald S. Spencer Student Recreation Center. The Western Illinois University Board of Trustees recently authorized financial agreements to secure funds for the installation of fire sprinkler systems, as well as the expansion of the recreation center.

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