Trustees hear cost projections for Greek Village, Lewis Science Center; discuss room rate increase

All seven UCA Board of Trustees members attended a two-day retreat at the Ozark Folk Center in Mountain View on April 2-3 to discuss current university affairs, as well as look at future projections for the 2014-15 school year concerning accruement of university debt because of various projects and proposed room and board changes for 2016.

No votes were made on any of the numerous proposals made during the retreat.

President Tom Courtway said, “We started doing this a few years ago. In my opinion, boards need time to have a good discussion and have a good presentation of a lot of different topics so they can get a good feel of what’s going on because they have to make decisions going forward.”

The current board chair Cay Hinkle, a Mountain View native, organized the retreat.

Student Government Association President senior Adam Price, Staff Senate president Lindsay Osborne and Faculty Senate president-elect Don Bradley also attended the retreat.

After an executive session in which nothing was voted on, Vice President of Finance and Administration Diane Newton provided a year-to-date financial overview and housing projections for fall 2014.

According to Newton’s PowerPoint presentation, the overall housing occupancy is at 100.22 percent for fall 2013, an increase from the 94.24 percent occupancy rate from fall 2012.

Newton is anticipating a occupancy rate of above 100 percent for fall 2014 and showed UCA is currently running 60 applications above last year, adding that Bear Hall has 356 beds but 731 applications list the residence hall as the individual’s top priority pick.

For university apartments, Newton is looking at an even 98 percent occupancy rate on
opening day, if not more.

The housing department is currently running behind based on a timing change made to the reapplication process for returning students.

Stadium Park apartments are projected to lead all other university apartment complexes in net revenue with an estimated $828,926 in income next year.

Bear Village trails slightly behind with an expected net revenue of $795,719.

According to the presentation, Conway Hall is expected to lead net revenue for 2015 with $586,647.

Short-Denney Hall is expected to earn $571,111.

The approved UCA room and board rate for the 2014-15 school year sits at $5,778.

Trustees listened to a proposed increase for the 2015-16 school year, leading the total to a hypothetical $6,038.

Currently, the room and board rates for UCA is $5,530.

As of June 30, 2013, the university has an outstanding debt of $129,314,929 with a debt burden ratio of 5.72 percent. The debt burden ratio measures an organization’s reliance on debt as a source for financing its mission and is recommended by the presentation to be at 7 percent.

The debt coverage ratio as of June 30, 2013 is 2.6 percent. This ratio measures the excess income available for covering annual debt service.

The presentation noted that the recommended range for universities to fall into is between 2.4 and 2.6 percent.

Through payments and bonds for Greek Village Phase I and II, the Donaghey Corridor and the renovation and expansion plan for Lewis Science Center, the university is projected to reach a total debt of approximately $195,414,929 with a debt burden ratio of 7.24 percent and a debt coverage ratio of 2.30 percent.

Provost Steve Runge provided an extensive overview of the university’s current academic standings, including an admissions and retention update, as well as graduate school and UCA online updates.

The files for this presentation were not immediately available. Courtway said the first day ended with a “very nice dinner” at Hinkle’s home and trustees were treated to Ozark-style music performed by a few guest musicians.

The next day, after a UCA Foundation update from the organization’s president, Shelley Mehl, trustees discussed a timetable for Greek Village Phase I construction.

According to the timeline, the groundbreaking ceremony will be April 25 with construction starting in mid to late May.

The construction is expected to be finished in mid-July 2015.

Other handouts included graphic representations of the placement of houses for individual UCA sororities.

Major maintenance and renovation projects currently underway for UCA is the storm drain connecting the HPER Center to Bruce Street and renovation to the basement in McCastlain Hall and the Lewis Science Center roof.

In terms of student housing, the card access system outside dorms will be updated along with an Internet upgrade to Bear Village, Erbach, Oak Tree and Torreyson apartments.

Bear Village and Stadium Park apartments will both receive apartment renovations.

Fire sprinkler systems will be improved in Baridon, Bernard and Short-Denney Halls. Short-Denney Hall will receive a fire alarm replacement.

Trustees later viewed the possible architecture plans for the Lewis Science Center expansion plan, along with a conceptual design review of the Donaghey Corridor Mixed Use project.

The Donaghey Corridor would create 165 beds and would cause a 6.5 percent increase in room and board rates to break even the first year of occupancy.

The board will have a budget workshop where it will discuss the proposed budget for the 2014-15 school year.


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