Regents to decide on land sale

The Board of Regents is holding committee meetings from 9 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. today in Morrill Hall in rooms 238 and 300. The board will meet in its entirety on Friday. Following are highlights of some of the major issues before the committees.
Facilities Committee
Committee members will discuss selling parking lot C91 on the West Bank across from the Law School. Education Environments, LLC and Phoenix Land Ventures are developers who have partnered to buy the lot from the University for $314,500 to construct retail and housing units.
The proposed housing will accommodate nearly 400 people, with average base rent at $567 per month. Housing would be available in August 2000.
Regents postponed the sale until March; questions arose at the February meeting about how the project — independent of the University — would fit into the school’s housing and parking plans, and how it would fit into the Seven Corners area’s community goals.
Members will also discuss further details of renovation plans for Murphy Hall and Ford Hall.
Educational Planning & Policy Committee
Plans to expand the University by adding a fourth branch campus will be reviewed at this committee meeting. Along with representatives from the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities and the Mayo Medical Center, members will discuss the possibility of developing the University of Minnesota-Rochester branch.
At its February meeting, the MnSCU Board of Trustees approved a statement in support of adding the branch campus, with the stipulation that the regents follow suit. Regents will review the statement and possibly vote on it.
The Rochester campus would be a cooperative venture between the University and MnSCU.
Chancellors for each of the school’s branch campuses will also discuss with committee members their attempts to improve undergraduate education at their respective campuses.
Faculty, Staff & Student Affairs Committee
In preparation for the upcoming semester conversion, committee members will vote on the University’s proposed 1999-2000 tuition plan. The plan includes eliminating base tuition, equalizing lower division and upper division tuition rates, and slashing in half the price for more than 12 credits.
Plans also include a 3 percent tuition increase for next year. Because of an expected drop in student credit loads after semester conversion, administrators say the 3 percent hike would make up for lost University revenue.
Also, committee members will review proposed updates to better define administrative obligations in the University’s 21-year-old animal care and usage policy.
Finance & Operations Committee
Officials will update committee members on the flow of funds from the merger of the University’s Hospital with the Fairview Health System. The last time the board discussed the merger’s financial details was one year ago.
Members will also discuss purchasing a new $1.5 million voice messaging system by Networking and Telecommunications Services. Because of Y2K complications, the manufacturer predicts failure of the University’s current voice-mail system by 2000.
Audit Committee
Continuing a series of updates on the University’s Y2K progress, committee members will address the school’s highest-risk compliance projects. Associate Vice President Gail Klatt will review with the regents the top 10 risk items, which include the Law School registrar system, the Twin Cities and Crookston campus voice-mail systems and the Morris campus library system.

— Stacy Jo Enge