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Ohio University Board of Trustees approves issuance of bonds for new residence hall and student information system

ATHENS, Ohio (Dec. 14, 2005) -- Ohio University's Board of Trustees met on Wednesday, Dec. 14, in Columbus, where the board approved several university business initiatives and was updated on the latest developments.

The board approved a resolution to allow the issuance of up to $38 million in bonds to finance several projects on campus. The bond money would support the construction of a new residence hall to be used as swing space ($22 million), bridge funding for the University Center ($5.2 million), the first phase of the new student information system ($4 million), a performance contract ($3.3 million), College of Communication design work ($2.4 million) and partial design costs for the proposed Integrated Learning and Research Facility ($300,000). The bonds will be issued in the first half of 2006 and will be amortized for various time periods.

A $55 million bond resolution was originally brought before the board for approval at its October meeting, but the vote was postponed until more information could be shared about the university's plans to take on additional debt in the next few years. The amounts requested for the student information system and the Integrated Learning and Research Facility are smaller than in the previous bond issue.

The board reaffirmed the land lease agreement with National Church Residences (NCR) for a 16.09-acre site on Stimson Ave. in Athens. The long-term agreement calls for a payment of $1 a year for the land that will be used to build a retirement community. The board originally approved the long-term lease agreement on June 25, 2004, but since the university did not enter into a lease agreement with NCR within a year, it had to be reauthorized according to original lease terms. Ohio University's College of Health and Human Services plans to provide services to the proposed retirement center to give its students and faculty valuable hands-on training.

During his report to the board, President Roderick J. McDavis reviewed his 2005-06 academic year goals. He said some of his priority items are implementing Vision Ohio, filling the vacant senior level administrative positions, overseeing the completion of the campus master plan, promoting civic responsibility and decreasing alcohol abuse within the university community, and raising the additional $10 million needed for the construction of the new Integrated Learning and Research Facility.

"The goals identified in Vision Ohio, the university's strategic plan, set the stage for the emergence of a 21st century university that will strategically invest its resources in specific areas of excellence and distinction," McDavis said. "Vision Ohio's successful implementation is key to the future success of our university. While focusing on providing a unique educational experience for our students, we are building a new model for a public research university."

McDavis discussed a few of the recent highlights on campus including the increase in research funds on campus to more than $57 million with $29.4 million coming from state and private sponsors. The president was happy to announce that the university increased its revenue from licensing and patents from $43,000 in 2003 to more than $2.4 million in 2004. He credited much of the success to the university's financial stake in the Pfizer drug, SomavertĀ®, which treats the growth hormone disorder, acromegaly.

The university is up in both the number of prospective students who have applied for admission and those who have been admitted for the incoming class of 2006.

McDavis also discussed the preliminary budget analysis for fiscal year 2007. He said initial projections indicate a budget shortfall. The university's enrollment projections show 4,100 first-year students will enter in fall 2006. The utility expense projection has been increased for fiscal year 2007 based on current information concerning rising gas and coal prices. The university is continuing to assume a 97 percent State Share of Instruction (SSI) guarantee. The proposed undergraduate tuition increase is 6 percent, which includes 1 percent earmarked for need-based scholarships.

Provost Kathy Krendl updated the board on the Vision Ohio process and its implementation. She shared some of the initial investments the university is making in one-time funding for projects that are intended to realize the goals of the plan. David Ingram, chair of the Undergraduate Priorities Implementation Team, and Phyllis Bernt, co-chair of the Budget Implementation Team, provided updates on the work they are doing and the timelines for completion of their work.

The board approved a resolution to reissue no more than $7.05 million in general receipts bond anticipation notes to support the Enterprise Project at Ohio University. The Enterprise Project was created to standardize Oracle's database software and tools and implement the Oracle HRMS/Payroll and Financial modules.

The board also accepted the Treasurer's Audited Financial Statements for fiscal year 2004-05.

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Media Contact: Media Specialist Jack Jeffery, (740) 597-1793 or jefferyj@ohio.edu

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