ABOR to Study Salaries, Proposed Budgets, New Construction

ABOR to Study Salaries, Proposed Budgets, New Construction

By Jeff HarrisonUniversity Communications
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Arizona Board of Regents
Arizona Board of Regents

As a whole, faculty at The University of Arizona have made some headway in salaries, but are still below faculty at peer institutions. The Arizona Board of Regents will review an annual report on personnel this week at its meeting in Flagstaff.

Competitive salaries are the single-most important factor in determining whether faculty, and staff, remain at the state universities or go elsewhere, according to a preliminary report in the regents' meeting agenda. 

Salaries at the UA range anywhere from $5,000 to nearly $11,000, approximately 5 percent to 15 percent, below the peer median. The faculty turnover rate is slightly more than 5 percent on the main campus, less than for Northern Arizona University and Arizona State University, and just over 10 percent for the Health Sciences Center. Classified staff turnover ranges from 14 percent to 19 percent at the three universities.

The report said the cost of correcting the projected unmet salary need at the UA for fiscal year 2010 is projected to be $67 million, an 8 percent increase over the unmet salary need for FY 2009.

The regents also will discuss the universities' $80.7 million operating budget for FY 2010. That request, once approved by the board, will be forwarded to Gov. Janet Napolitano and the Legislature by Oct. 1. Almost half that amount, $40.1 million, or $7.1 million specifically for the UA, is to cover the schools' surging enrollment growth, including earlier stated goals of increasing both financial assistance and the numbers of students graduating with so-called STEM degrees – degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields.

The UA also will share plans for constructing new buildings and refurbishing existing ones. One project calls for a new parking structure south of Sixth Street along Warren Avenue. The structure would provide space for between 1,000 and 1,500 vehicles, relieving parking pressures in the neighborhoods south of campus.

A dozen other projects are also being planned. Those include a new Engineering Research Building that would consolidate several engineering programs, a library in the northwest area of campus, a new home for Arizona Public Media, replacing the outdated Mathematics Building, improvements to sidewalks and bike paths, and constructing a north end zone building for Arizona Stadium. 

The Chemistry Building and Bear Down Gymnasium, both on the National Register of Historic Places, are due for major renovations. Expanding Bear Down could also include space for health and wellness programs, Campus Recreation, exercise physiology and nursing, labs and classroom space, along with additional gymnasium and multipurpose spaces.

An initial list of projects that would be funded with $170 million from the Stimulus Plan for Economic and Education Development, or SPEED, includes $90 million for a new Environment and Natural Resources Building and $12 in new construction and renovations for historic Centennial Hall.  More importantly, SPEED would fund $68 million for the Deferred Maintenance and Building Renewal projects, mostly the dozens of fire and safety improvements across campus that UA officials said have fallen into serious disrepair. 

Other UA items on the regents' agenda include acquiring surplus federal property near the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences' Cooperative Extension facility in Maricopa County and renewing a 10-year lease with the State Land Department for the 4,637-acre Red Rock Agricultural Center near Marana.

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