By Emily Gallagher
Times West Virginian
Funding has been approved for additional student housing and employee pay raises at Fairmont State University.
During Thursday’s board of governors meeting, budgets for the upcoming fiscal year were approved. Those budgets include the education and general (E&G) budget, the Falcon Center budget, the housing budget, facilities, parking and safety budget and the Athletic Department budget.
The E&G budget for the 2015 fiscal year is $44,970,000. Rick Porto, vice president for Administration and Financial Affairs, said that’s almost $2 million less than 2014. He said that’s necessary because of the enrollment at FSU.
The approval of the E&G budget will allow for a pay raise of $504 to all full-time employees or Mercer Step increase for classified staff, whichever is greater.
Porto said this raise was awarded by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin. The raise will go into effect July 1.
The board reviewed the Falcon Center’s 20-year master plan and approved its 2015 budget. Porto said the plan, which was first approved by the governing board on Oct. 20, 2011, is to ensure that the building is maintained and operated over the next 20 years.
The budget will also cover the Falcon Center’s 2015 projects. Those projects include a new passenger elevator, fitness equipment and furniture.
Porto said a second passenger elevator is necessary.
“Right now it’s hard for people to get from the first floor of the Falcon Center to the third floor,” he said.
The estimated budget for these projects is $305,912.55.
The project will replace fitness equipment that has exhausted its life cycle, replace and upgrade areas throughout the building, and replace furniture in various areas in the building.
Porto said there is additional money in the budget for scholarships and assessment software that will be available to all students.
“This will allow students to track their academic standings and help them build resumes,” he said.
As part of the housing 20-year plan, which was approved Aug. 16, 2012, and 2015 budget, which was approved Thursday, $1,150,500 will be used to construct a new apartment building. This building will house 340 apartments and suite-style beds.
The plan incorporates the demolition of the College Park Apartments and will add 140 beds.
Porto said there will be an increase in fees for housing on FSU’s campus.
“Those who reside with us will have an increase in what they pay to live on campus,” he said.
The facilities (parking and safety) 2015 budget will not have a fee increase. Within the budget are three projects for the year.
One project is to expand the facilities department. Porto said a new Public Safety Department complex and additional storage will be built. The second project is to replace a campus police patrol vehicle. The third project is to do continuous upkeep on the parking garage on campus.
“Every year we try to do a floor for the parking garage, whether it be painting or pressure washing,” Porto said.
The final budget approved Thursday was the Athletic Department’s 2015 budget and 20-year athletic master plan.
The board talked about the two sports that will be added: women’s soccer and women’s lacrosse. Women’s soccer will start in the fall. Porto said an athletic special equity fee will be increased. During the 2019 fiscal year, a special equity fee increase is projected for the addition of women’s lacrosse.
After executive session, the board announced that the formation of the Nominating Committee will be at the hands of appointed chairman John Myers. Board chairman Ron Tucker said Myers will appoint two others to the committee.
Email Emily Gallagher at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @EGallagherTWV.