Stadium cost increases

Just how much more the stadium will cost will be disclosed at a Jan. 3 meeting.

by Elizabeth Cook

TCF Bank Stadium construction is going to cost more than expected, according to University officials who updated the Board of Regents Facilities Committee at their monthly meeting Thursday.

The higher costs are due to inflation in the cost of construction, swampy land and some new building codes, said University Chief Financial Officer Richard Pfutzenreuter.

Just how much more the stadium will cost is still unknown, he said. It’s expected to be disclosed at a Jan. 3 Board meeting.

The University will not cover the added costs with student tuition or state funding, he said.

The Department for Intercollegiate Sports will most likely have to pay the extra cost.

The inflation is expected to increase construction costs from 5 to 8 percent, he said.

Loose soil on the site means an extra cost for either removal or placing pilings to continue with construction, Pfutzenreuter said.

The stadium will also need more bathrooms than originally planned, he said.

“Plumbing is extremely expensive,” Pfutzenreuter said.

Regent Clyde Allen said he was surprised about the boggy soil, but not about the extra costs.

“When you start off early you make the best cost estimates you can,” he said. “But really, you haven’t done a whole lot of design work at that time.”

Allen said it’s important to discover these issues early on.

“We want to be sure that we do this stadium right,” he said. “We don’t want to build something into it that’s wrong from the beginning.”

Bruininks gets raise

The Board showed its generosity to President Bob Bruininks in Friday’s Board meeting by rewarding him with a raise and a contract extension.

The 10 percent increase brings his salary from $384,221 to $423,000 for the 2007-2008 academic year.

Bruininks’ contract, set to expire June 30, 2008, was extended to 2011.

At the end of his contract, Bruininks will receive deferred compensation, or yearly earned bonuses. For 2007-2008 he will get $150,000, which is set to increase $25,000 every year thereafter.

Bruininks will see a 7.5 percent increase to $455,000 for 2008-2009.

Board Chair Tony Baraga said the raise will make Bruininks’ pay more competitive with similar institutions.

The Board also unanimously approved a new Regents Presidential Leadership Chair, awarded to a University president who’s been serving for at least three years.

The Chair will provide $100,000 each year to be used for “presidential initiatives consistent with University purposes as determined by the Chair holder.”

Baraga said this money can be used for national conferences on academic issues or leadership development for academic institutions.

Regent David Metzen said he agrees with the president’s raise and new chair position.

“I want to go on the record as saying, ‘We do not have a good president,’ ” he said. “We have a great president.”

Metzen said he was also pleased Bruininks plans to keep his position.

“It’s nice to know you’re going to stay on as president for the next few years,” he said.

Bruininks said he was thankful for their support, but that he can’t take full credit for University achievements.

“It’s truly been deeply rewarding to see the leadership (of everyone),” he said.

Regents receive student recommendations

Student representative to the Board Nathan Wanderman presented a semiannual report informing the Board about student issues on Friday.

Wanderman said a clear definition of appropriate laptop use in class is needed.

Other technology issues are due to professors using different course management systems, he said. Some professors use Web CT, while others use different programs. This makes it difficult for students to master any of the programs.

Wanderman also said students lack awareness about data theft and recommended educational campaigns guidelines for students to realize the risk.

Student retention rates are also troubling, he said, with students transferring out of the University of Minnesota system.

Wanderman suggested expanding a multi-university program, with information about coordinate campuses and specialties to make transferring campuses easier.

The idea is that there’s “something in the University system for everyone,” he said.