University’s construction spending increased by 91.4 percent

University’s construction spending increased by 91.4 percent

University’s construction spending increased by 91.4 percent
January 25
22:30 2017

Jackie Guerrero | Staff Writer

The university’s spending on construction has increased by 91.4 percent from the fiscal year 2016 to fiscal year 2017, due to new buildings and renovations on the UNT campus.

David Reynolds, the associate vice president of facilities, said there has been a notable increase in spending from 2014 to 2017.

“Significant changes in residence halls and dining,” Reynolds said. “They have significantly increased their spending since about 2015. I’ll say [in] around numbers was in the neighborhood of about four to five million dollars per year, up to about 2015, 2016, 2017 has been around the 10 to 12 to 14 million dollar range.”

From fiscal year 2015 to fiscal year 2016, the spending only increased by 12.3 percent. But for 2017, spending jumped up by a little over 90 percent.

New residence halls, upgrades in current halls, dining facilities and class buildings are the cause of the big increase in spending. Reynolds said he hopes the campus improvements cause less distractions to students than in previous years.

Students can expect to see a new track and field complex begin construction in the summer of 2017, alongside renovations to the first floor of Sage Hall, Reynolds said. In the spring, construction on Clark Park will wrap up.

Helen Bailey, division of finance and administration director, said the project-estimating process is based on looking at resources on construction cost data and understanding the full scope of the project.

Reynolds said it takes around 18 to 24 months for a project to come in and go through all the steps to getting the correct approval by the Board of Regents.

Bailey said each project varies in length depending on the scope and dollar value of that project. The process of building each project has to do with the window of time the school has to produce either the renovation or building.

“Like the [College of Visual Arts and Design building] project is about a three-year, $70 million project, and that is the beginning of the design to opening the doors,” she said. “But a little $1 million project might be done over a summer.”

The budget funding “almost never” comes from students’ tuition, Bailey said. So students shouldn’t expect an increase in tuition rates because of the ongoing campus construction projects. The money that feeds into the budget comes from the university and locally generated revenue, higher education assistance funds, grant funding or other legislative appropriations, bonds and donations. The donation projects usually go to non-academic projects, like athletics.

UNT student Blake Rodriguez is not bothered by the campus construction, finding it good for UNT.

“I think the renovations are necessary because UNT is a very old campus, and it’s good to upgrade buildings and residence halls,” Rodriguez said.  “It makes the campus look up to date with today.”

Bailey said UNT is constantly trying to improve its flagship campus to attract new students and promote research.

The facilities UNT provides are “important to all these efforts” and is why the campus continues to expand.

“There is only one for sure thing as this campus grows and expands, and that is change is for certain,” she said. “The university is thriving to always be the best it can be to have the best facilities for their education.”

Featured Image: File Photo

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North Texas Daily

North Texas Daily

The North Texas Daily is the official student newspaper of the University of North Texas, proudly serving UNT and the Denton community since 1916.

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