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University of Central Missouri
Administration 302
Warrensburg, MO 64093
Phone: 660-543-4640
Fax: 660-543-4943


Humphreys Building Contingency Funding Among Board Action Items

Contact: Jeff Murphy
WARRENSBURG, MO (Sept. 22, 2016) – An increase to the Humphreys Building project contingency fund, and a new Bachelor of Science in Software Engineering degree, which would be the first such program in Missouri, were among items approved by the University of Central Missouri Board of Governors when it recently met on campus. The board also approved the purchase of new pianos for the Department of Music, further enhancing the institution’s status since 2007 as a “Steinway Campus.”

In the meeting Sept. 16 in the Elliott Student Union, the board approved a $500,000 increase in the Humphreys Building contingency fund. Board action followed a decision in May 2016 to approve $2.95 million to enable the university to take advantage of the summer schedule to renovate office suites used by the Criminal Justice and Safety Sciences academic departments in Humphreys, and conduct lead and asbestos remediation throughout the four-story building. The Humphreys Building was built in two different sections in 1915 and 1916 that were joined many years later, and some asbestos-containing -materials (ACM) were used during the construction process. Additionally, an area in the building’s basement was a former indoor firing range, which was closed in 2011.

Deborah Curtis, provost-chief learning officer, has been overseeing the project team. Although a summer completion date was initially sought, in mid-July the university extended the timeline for completion of the project to Nov. 4, 2016. This, according to Curtis, will provide more time to complete additional asbestos abatement, check mechanical systems that have been turned off during the cleaning process, make needed internal structural repairs, perform painting, installation of new carpet and ceiling tiles throughout the building, and complete furniture assembly and placement.

By August, total project costs, including covering unexpected challenges due to work in the aging structure,  was less than $2.6 million, but additional expenses are expected. To avoid additional delays, an increase of $500,000 was sought for the project contingency. Curtis said this additional amount is the last funding request related to the project that is expected to be brought to the board.

After hearing a presentation by Xiadong Yue, chair of the School of Computer Science and Mathematics, the board approved a new Bachelor of Science in Software Engineering degree to be housed within the College of Health, Science and Technology (CHST). This degree must still be approved by the Missouri Coordinating Board for Higher Education (CBHE). Pending CBHE approval, CHST hopes to begin publishing the degree in the 2017-2018 UCM Undergraduate Catalog.

Yue said the growing pervasiveness of software, which affects almost everyone’s daily life, from mundane tasks such as using home appliances to controlling traffic lights, has created a need for trained individuals who are capable of delivering high-quality software products.  Demand for people trained in this area also is expected to increase much faster than other U.S. occupations. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that there will be a 17 percent growth in employment of software engineers from 2014 to 2024. Employment of applications software developers is projected to grow 19 percent, and employment of systems software developers is projected to grow 13 percent.

The board also approved the purchase of 13 Steinway pianos from the Schmitt Music Company, further contributing to UCM’s status as a “Steinway Campus.” The total net cost of the instruments is $393,089 with trade-in of 12 pianos. The College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences will utilize $72,000 in Fiscal Year 2017 funding made available through the Strategic Resource Allocation Model (SRAM) and $15,000 in Department of Music general operations to fund a portion of the cost. The remainder will be funded with institutional reserves.

Along with quality faculty in the Department of Music, the institution’s status as a “Steinway Campus” has become a significant draw for students interested in teaching music as well as performing on the piano, Curtis said.