Big Investment to Keep UM-Flint Campus Up-to-Date

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Summer is a busy time for making needed improvements to the University of Michigan-Flint campus. The list of projects that will soon start, have been started, or just recently finished totals nearly 30. The wide variety of projects ranges from a major makeover of a campus building to upgrading lighting in the Recital Hall.

Pending approval of a request for state funding, the Murchie Science Building (MSB) tops the project list, and could total $22 million for updates.

"The most critical of the projects is the upgrading of the science labs in MSB," says Vice Chancellor for Business and Finance David Barthelmes. "It's essential to get this done to provide a state-of-the-art learning environment."

Funding from the state is key to completing the entire project.  More than $16 million of the project was tentatively approved by the former governor. The university is currently working on detailed plans to be submitted to the state in early September. About $5.5 million would be the university's responsibility.

Other proposed big-ticket projects include replacing Northbank Center (NBC) elevators in the main building. The price tag is estimated at up to $2 million. Needed before the construction can begin is final approval of a project review by U-M Board of Regents.

The long tradition of putting plastic buckets around the University Center (UCEN) because of a leaky roof following a heavy rain may soon come to an end. It is estimated that the repair and replacement of the roof may exceed $900,000. The estimate includes roof replacement, major repairs to window walls, and other related costs.

One of the projects also on the list to be approved by the Board of Regents will actually save the university money over the coming years.

"Upgrading the 30-year-old boilers at the Central Energy Plant will produce an annual savings that eventually will recover the cost of the project," according to Barthelmes. "Based on the high efficiency of these new boilers, they are expected to pay for themselves in less than seven years."

In the Harding Mott University Center, renovations to the KIVA Auditorium have been completed, and the Happenings Room renovation is nearing completion.

While outside contractors will perform most of the work on the major projects, Facilities and Operations has played a key role in overseeing them and completing the work on many of the other projects.

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