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14 April 2008
President's Quarterly Report to Board of Trustees

President’s Report

President’s Report

Board of Trustees

April 14, 2008

Capital Projects

State Building Commission - Campus Demolition


Taylor Corporation completed the demolition of the steam plant, Abercrombie and Luttrell Hall but requested a substantial change order which was denied by the University. Taylor Corporation petitioned the State Building Commission to review the claim dispute. The State Building Commission held the final hearing on February 28, 2008 for the disputed change order denied by the University and rendered their final decision on March 27, 2008. The State Building Commission directed the University to pay $1,456 out of $120,617 requested by the contractor.  


Little River Canyon Field School


This project is on schedule for completion in late fall by our architect Jenkins, Monroe and Jenkins and contractor Eidison and Associates.  The interior of the building is being prepared for painting.  Ceiling grids along with light fixtures and ventilation diffusers are being installed through out the structure.   Hole boring and grouting for the geo-thermal system is completed.  The deck at the rear of the building has been completed.


Chimney Peak Observatory


Hale Building Company has completed the construction phase of this project. The delicate work of fine tuning the telescope’s operation with the contractor, staff from the Information Technology and faculty in the Department of Physical and Earth Sciences has begun to make the entire system remotely operational. This project will greatly enhance the University’s astronomical programs which can be shared with public schools.


The Gladys M. Carlisle Fine Arts Facility


The Bonding Company, Great American Insurance Company, took over the project.   Currently, the roof warranty has not been received; therefore, Substantial Completion cannot be obtained from the State Building Commission.   Several other close out documents are pending action by the bonding company.  The building was operational for the fall 2007 academic semester and continues to be a great new asset for our Department of Art.

Cole Library Chiller and Boiler Replacement


Bids were received on April 8 to replace the aged and deteriorating mechanical equipment for the cooling and heating systems at the Library.   The apparent low bidder is Mid-South Control Systems, Inc., with a bid price of $478,000.   Replacement of the cooling system is time-sensitive.  Anticipated completion is early July


Governmental Affairs

Since our last Board of Trustees meeting in January the economic slow down has continued to reduced the funds brought to the State of Alabama through state income tax and sales tax. In response Governor Riley enacted the Rainy Day Fund to prevent any proration for this year. All of Alabama’s education institutions would be facing proration today if it were not for this saving account. For next year the Governor has proposed a budget reduction of approximately 14% for Alabama's Four Year Colleges and Universities. At the same time he is proposing a lesser cut for Alabama's Two Year College System of approximately 10% and a significantly smaller reduction for the State Department of Education--approximately 6%.

The Governor’s recommendation for each of Alabama’s Four Year Colleges and University’s varied from a low of 10.23% for Troy University and a high of 17.25% for the University of West Alabama. The Governor’s recommendation for Jacksonville State University was 13.36% a reduction of $6,591,697.


This reduction would significantly impact Jacksonville State University operations and management budget just as costs for health insurance, energy and retirement benefits are increasing. Increases in retirement costs for 2008-09 are projected by the Retirement Systems of Alabama to be $437,234 and for health insurance $197,280 is the projected increase for PEEHIP.


What Jacksonville State University needs is its minimum base for operations and maintenance and the increased costs for retirement and health insurance. This total is $45,884,645.  It would still mean a reduction of $3,421,455 or approximately 7%.


A single cut across the board is a more equitable way to share the budget short fall for next year. Each of the major groups within the Education Trust Fund: the Universities, the Two Year Colleges and the State Department of Education should be asked to share equally in budget reductions.


Jacksonville State University has not increased tuition in two years. Some professional schools within the University of Alabama System have already indicated that they will increase tuition for next year by 12 to 15%. JSU’s University Budget Committee has proposed a tuition increase for undergraduates of $21.00 per credit hour which will raise the cost per hour from $169 to $190, a 12.4% increase. This increase will cost less than $85.00 per month for a student enrolled for 16 semester hours fall and spring semester. The average JSU student takes 12 semester hours per term, the increased cost for two semesters for these full-time students while enrolled would be less than $65 per month.

Other proposed cost increases are: $25 per hour for graduate course work, an 11% increase, a $50 per credit hour charge for undergraduate and graduate distance learning courses, an increase in application fee to the university to $30, and an increase in residential housing of approximately 15%.


This represents a significant increase in the cost of education for Jacksonville State University students an increase that is not recommended lightly. Facing budget reductions and increased cost we must ask for these tuition and fee increases to maintain the quality of the educational experience at JSU. The University will also be reviewing ways to reduce costs by reducing travel expenditures and reviewing positions and program expenditures. The University will work hard to continue the JSU experience as a good value in higher education.


University Activities


Academic Affairs  


Dr. Rebecca Turner, Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs has prepared her report in your binder under “Tab 6” which you may read at your leisure. Among the many accomplishments noted is the reaffirmation of accreditation for the College of Commerce and Business Administration by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) and a recommendation by the visiting team from the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications (ACEJMC) that our Department of Communication receive full accreditation, thus making it one of only three accredited communication programs in Alabama.

I have asked Dr. Turner and Dr. Simmons to share with you the various program accreditations which JSU has achieved because our University has more accredited programs than any other regional University in Alabama.


Institutional Advancement


Mr. Joe Serviss, Vice President for Institutional Advancement has some good news to share with you about Jacksonville State University’s 125th Anniversary that was celebrated February 22nd and will continue to be celebrated throughout 2008. He also has a new employee to introduce.




Athletic Director Jim Fuller will present his Athletic Report and a special recognition of our Baseball and Softball Coaches.



William A. Meehan, Ed.D.



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