Author Topic: NDSU president's house now more than $2 million  (Read 8391 times)

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Offline pmp6nl

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NDSU president's house now more than $2 million
« on: October 12, 2009, 01:25:24 pm »
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NDSU president's house now more than $2 million
Spending at North Dakota State University faces even more scrutiny after officials learned Friday the cost of the president’s house project has climbed to more than $2 million.

By: Amy Dalrymple, INFORUM

Spending at North Dakota State University faces even more scrutiny after officials learned Friday the cost of the president’s house project has climbed to more than $2 million. Chancellor Bill Goetz said Friday he’s very concerned with the latest report from NDSU, which puts the house at nearly $2.04 million and includes more than $500,000 in university money. The NDSU Development Foundation had permission to spend up to $900,000 in private donations on the house, but the total cost of the project keeps rising.

Next week, a subcommittee of the state Board of Higher Education will take a “hard look” at the house project and make a recommendation about whether the board should authorize the cost overrun, Goetz said.

“It’s pretty obvious that there was some breakdown here in terms of accountability and management and monitoring the project, which obviously is of great concern,” Goetz said.  Board member Duaine Espegard of Grand Forks said some members are calling for an audit of the houses at NDSU and the University of North Dakota.  UND’s house also went over budget, costing about $1.2 million plus an additional $500,000 that was spent on both the house and a new Alumni Center.

Goetz also is looking into about $238,000 NDSU is spending on remodeling President Joseph Chapman’s office.  In addition, NDSU’s Richard H. Barry Hall exceeded its budget by about $3 million and NDSU anticipates coming to the board and the Budget Section for authorization on the overrun.  Goetz said he’s reviewing these projects, even though some are funded with private dollars, to ensure accountability and credibility.

“It makes no difference to me if it’s foundation money or if it’s general fund money or auxiliary dollars,” Goetz said. “There has to be accountability.”  NDSU officials told the board last month the total cost of the president’s house was $1.8 million. Since that time, additional bills came in, Goetz said.  The latest figures from NDSU put the cost of the home construction at about $1.38 million plus about $150,000 for site preparation and planning, a document states.

Furniture, appliances, landscaping, parking, concrete work and exterior lighting totaled more than $500,000.  “It looks like an out-of-control project, certainly not anywhere near approval level,” Espegard said.  More than $570,000 of NDSU funds went into the project. That includes about $60,000 in costs related to moving, storage and temporary housing.

The NDSU funds came from interest income, auxiliary revenues and Coke/Pepsi commissions, according to a document detailing the project.  “None of that money is coming from tuition or anything that the state has given us,” said NDSU spokeswoman Najla Amundson.  Board members expressed last month that the foundation should cover those costs.

Sen. Ray Holmberg, chairman of the Legislature’s Budget Section, which also has to sign off on the project, said legislators won’t want to see NDSU money in the house.  “I think they are adamant that institutional money should not be used to pay for those presidents’ homes,” said Holmberg, R-Grand Forks.  Goetz also requested documentation of spending on the president’s office, and he plans to review it this weekend.

NDSU is remodeling Old Main 101 and 102, which includes the president’s office and an adjacent conference room that used to be occupied by Customer Account Services.  The cost to complete the project is about $238,000. Because the project is under $250,000, NDSU did not need authorization from the board for the project, Goetz said.  Floor plans on file with the city show the project involves 2,203 square feet with an office for Chapman, a reception area, separate areas for Chapman’s executive assistant and administrative assistant, a coat area and a bathroom.

A document provided to Goetz said the project was necessary because of severely inadequate heating and cooling, windows that were more than 50 years old, materials that contained asbestos and inadequate structural support for the floor above.  The document also said NDSU police raised concerns about the layout and security of the office.  The project is expected to be completed in mid-December.

NDSU also has other work going on in Old Main, but they are separate projects and each is under $250,000, so none came before the board.  In February, NDSU began work on the lower level of Old Main in the Accounting Services office and the vice president for finance and administration’s office. This project was prompted by a steam leak in the concrete floor, which caused serious mold buildup. The project is expected to cost less than $230,000.  NDSU also is spending about $60,000 on brick work for Old Main and about $98,000 in infrastructure upgrades in the building.  The Old Main projects are distinct and not part of an overall renovation, which is why NDSU did not bundle them together, Amundson said.

Goetz said he’s also looking into Richard H. Barry Hall, which NDSU officials estimate cost $23 million.  NDSU had permission from the board and the Budget Section to spend up to $20 million on that project.  About $1.5 million of the overrun is for furniture, which normally isn’t included in project costs, Amundson said. Another $1 million is what the NDSU Development Foundation spent to acquire the property, she said.

From: http://www.inforum.com/event/article/id/255851/

:(

A few comments from the Forum's comments section:

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Congratulations to the Forum on another "hard-hitting" investigative piece! God forbid anybody makes or spends any money in this town! Do you think that money just vanished into thin air? I'm pretty sure most of it went to local contractors who were dying for some business in this economy. Must've been a slow news day to fall back on your go-to story of going after one of the two biggest employers in the city of Fargo (NDSU & BCBS). Must be nice to do such "in-depth reporting" (accessing public records) without the fear of anyone else investigating *YOUR* finances or business practices (since Forum Comm. owns just about every newspaper in a 500-mile radius). What blatant attempt to justify your own existence by basically throwing a "hot topic" that incites polarizing reaction out there and then count your "web hits" as a way to keep your struggling company alive. [And, yes, I admit I've taken the bait.] Check out tomorrow's Forum to get old insight into whether or not UND should keep their logo and nickname!

Interesting...

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Many of you seem to be forgetting the fact that, under Chapman's tenure, NDSU has, and continues to grow, significantly. It's an understatement to say that the institution has been extremely SUCCESSFUL over the past several years. NDSU is now competing at a higher level with larger schools throughout the country - we're in a different league that we were only five years ago. It's disgusting to listen to all of whiners out there. You don't have a $2MM house of your own? Maybe you should go back to school for a few years, pick up a masters or Phd. Add a little value to our society. Create some demand for yourself! Maybe someday, with LOTS of hard work, you'll have the opportunity to live in a $2MM home of your own. Or maybe you'll still be complaining about what everyone else has - and you don't? Take some personal accountability. It's too bad that success is frowned upon these days.

Growth is good to an extent...

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I was proud to support my school, but now good luck getting me to donate anything. I understand NDSU is trying to position themselves as a premium division 1 school, but come on... 2 mil for the presidents mansion... give me a break. How about they build a 2 million dollar parking ramp close to campus so students don't have to walk 20 blocks to get to class. Oh wait, admin first, athletics second, and students last... i forgot the new ndsu motto.

That seems so true, and many students are not happy about it.

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Got two words for you: Division One (1). Welcome to the big leagues, everyone, out of control atheletic dollars, fanatical boosters and alumni that don't really remember what it meant to be an actual student there, and an underlying fear that you aren't as good as the school down the road. And yet I don't FAULT NDSU for this overrun, as it is part of a LARGER PROBLEM NATIONWIDE. Our schools only seem to care about the biggest and the best facilities, especially when it comes to atheletics. We need to worry about educating our kids so we don't become a third world country. That means math, science, art, music, technology, etc.

D1 this D1 that... I am sick of that crap.  Lets focus a bit more on academics...maybe?

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Does anyone really believe the chancellor or the board of higher ed will really deal with Chapman and his arrogance? Does anyone remember the last chancellor who tried to hold Chapman accountable? Chapman had him fired because the board and pretty much every elected person with oversight of our so-called University System thinks they work for Joe. Well the lowly tax payers and students footing the bill for higher education's uncontrollable spending and arrogance have a clear picture of the situation now, and they have had enough. Laws were broken here and the shine is off of Joe Chapman. It is time for someone to go to jail and Joe to go someplace else.

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Offline Sal Atticum

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Re: NDSU president's house now more than $2 million
« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2009, 02:37:39 pm »
I agree with your assessment.

Sadly, DI has struck UND the same way.
JUST EXTRA POLISH. I DO SOME WORK WITH EXCELL SO I KEEP THE CAPS LOCK ON :-P

Offline pmp6nl

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Re: NDSU president's house now more than $2 million
« Reply #2 on: October 14, 2009, 12:11:48 am »
I agree with your assessment.

Sadly, DI has struck UND the same way.

Its a terrible process, so much is forgotten about.  Good luck
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