South Carolina

Clemson trustees give university budget, Clemson House plans initial OKs

Clemson University trustees gave preliminary approvals Thursday to a nearly $1.1 billion fiscal year 2016-17 budget and to plans to tear down the 66-year-old Clemson House dormitory.

Trustees were busy with committee work Thursday morning at the Madren Conference Center as part of their quarterly meetings and annual retreat. The finance and facilities committee voted to send the budget plan to the full board for a Friday vote. It's the first time the university has cracked the $1 billion mark for its budget, and the proposal includes $118 million from the state Legislature for overhead and other costs.

Vice President Brett Dalton said the higher costs, which total $101.5 million more than last year's budget, are tied mostly to $8.5 million more spending on campus safety, an extra $7.8 million in financial aid for students, $39 million in better pay and benefits for staff and faculty, and $35 million more in overhead for research, instruction and Public Service and Agriculture programs.

Dalton's proposal to tear down Clemson House also was approved by the committee. He said it has become the most expensive dorm to operate on the campus, costs more than $900,000 a year to keep open for students, and is too old to renovate in a cost-effective way.

The dorm was closed for good after students left campus in May. It will be replaced this fall by the $96 million Core Campus project — 700 new beds, dining space, meeting rooms and retail space in the center of campus.

The Clemson House site is likely to be included in plans for a new $120 million home for the university's business college, which is now going through the design phase. Final approval for that plan could come later this year.

In other business, head baseball coach Monte Lee got a new contract that would pay him $2.75 million over the next six years. The raises for him and his staff come after their first year at Clemson, when the Tigers outdid most expectations to win the ACC tournament and gain a national seed in the NCAA tourney.

The trustees will meet as a full board Friday starting at 10:30 a.m., when they are expected to give final approvals to the 2016-17 budget, the Clemson House plan and the other committee work from Thursday