Clemson board approves budget, picks chairman

07/19/2013 9:28 PM

07/19/2013 9:42 PM

Clemson University’s board of trustees on Friday approved an operations budget that is $47 million bigger than the last one and re-elected David Wilkins as chairman.

Meeting at its annual retreat in Charleston, the board also approved several new programs, including:

- BullSpaulding Paolozzi Center, the university’s architecture center in Charleston. The $23.7 million cost will be funded through institution bonds and private gifts.

- An upgrade to the Campbell Graduate Center advanced powertrain laboratory.

- An addition to Freeman Hall on campus.

- A bond resolution for Watt Family Innovation Center.

- A new graduate-level Technical Certificate for Digital Artists.

- The new Statistical and Mathematical Consulting Center.

- A Wood Utilization and Design Institute.

The budget is balanced in part by a tuition and fees increase of 3 percent for undergraduates and 4 percent for graduate students this fall, approved last month.

The increases amount to an additional $190 per semester for students from South Carolina and $444 for out-of-state students.

Room and board also is going up by 3 percent — an average increase of $114 per semester.

The university also expects an increase of $7.5 million in state funding this year.

Brett Dalton, Clemson’s vice president for finance and operations, said the university’s instruction budget is at a historically high level.

“We are investing more in instruction and core mission activities than any point in our history,” he said in a university statement.

“Instruction and academic support make up the largest single expense category at 28 percent, while institutional support costs are approximately 34 percent lower than FY 08-09.”

Following the outline of its 2020 strategic plan, the university is funding the new programs in part through strategic divestments, or taking money out of programs that aren’t as effective and moving it into four focus areas: enhancing student quality and performance; providing engagement opportunities for all students; attracting, retaining and rewarding top people; and competitive facilities, infrastructure and technology.

Among construction projects listed in the design phase are the additions to the WestZone Complex at Memorial Stadium. Paid for by private athletics funds, the work includes construction of a One Clemson Museum and an expansion of the WestZone entrance.

An addition and renovation of offices and the home team locker room at the Doug Kingsmore Baseball Stadium also is in the design phase, with completion scheduled for January 2015.

Wilkins, beginning a third two-year term as chairman of the board as the university searches for a new president, has been a successor trustee since 2007.

The Clemson alumnus is a partner with the law firm of Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough in Greenville and has served as U.S. ambassador to Canada and speaker of the House in the South Carolina Legislature.

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