Operations Forecast for 1999-2000 requests extra millions to help
regain lost capacity
Vice-presidents Michael Atkinson and Tony
Whitworth collaborated to produce this year's
Operations Forecast, which sets forth the University's operating and
capital needs to government.
Putting the case, in respectful but desperate tones, "that a great
University is deteriorating because of budget restraints."
The University's 1998 Operations Forecast - a presentation of its
1999-2000 operating and capital needs to government - is in the hands of
Department of Post-Secondary Education.
The document - the result of a collaborative effort among
Vice-presidents Michael Atkinson and
Tony Whitworth, the Deans' Council, the Administrative Council, and
Council committees - calls for an operating
budget of almost $190 million, a capital budget of $50 million, and a
revitalization (special initiatives) budget of $5 million.
Currently, the University is operating on about $180 million a year.
For 1998-99, the University received a capital grant of $14.4 million,
almost doubling the previous year's funding, and a revitalization grant of
The Operating Budget
Respectfully reminding the government that $1 million spent on the
operating grant to the University generates a
$4.25 million return to the province's economy while noting that the U of
lost substantial ground over the past 10
years," the 37-page Operations Forecast prioritizes the University's
of needs and aspirations into three "tiers."
Taken together, the tiers amount to an extra $9 million in the
- The Tier 1 budget, requesting an extra $5.25 million,
document says, "a 'stand pat' - or, less charitably,
a 'do nothing'budget - " that anticipates some increases in key
staff and faculty salaries. "But because
[this budget] does not request funds for all areas of urgent need...the
University would still be losing ground with this
level of funding."
- The Tier 2 budget, requesting an additional $1.625 million beyond
Tier 1 budget, "presents immediate needs to ensure the process of
Expecting to lose as many as 200 faculty over the next 10 years to
the University regards the recruitment of new faculty as
"critical" in the
academic renewal process.
Especially with various "perceived disadvantages" of moving
to Saskatchewan - e.g., transportation access, geographic isolation,
higher taxes" - it
is important," the document states,
"that salary levels and lack of start-up grants
not contribute to the difficulties in attracting and retaining new
- The Tier 3 budget projections, involving a further $2.1
million beyond the Tier 2 budget, would further enable the University
"to begin to address some of the needs and opportunities to take
the University beyond the status quo." The document
itemizes and costs out the need for graduate student
research assistants, learning technologies, information systems, and
the replacement of major computer systems and upgrading
of computer infrastructure.
The Capital Budget
The $50-million capital budget would include $25 million
for replacement and renewal of infrastructure and equipment,
$24 million for the major building projects (the
Thorvaldson, Kinesiology, and College Buildings), and $1 million for
a Campus Master Plan.
The Renewal and Replacement Projects section of the
document calls for "enhanced sustaining capital funding [$19.2
in total]...to maintain the $1.1-billion investment in
buildings and grounds" and notes that the recent
DesRosiers Report suggests such funding be 1.3% of
plant value - i.e., more than $14 million annually.
Perpetual crisis mode
Lack of sufficient renewal funding "creates a perpetual
crisis mode of operation" for the Facilities Management staff.
- Aging steam tunnels, if not replaced (at $2 million a year
over the next decade), may collapse.
- "When, not if" boilers, many beyond their useful life,
collapse, "many parts of the campus will be shut down."
cost: $2.5 million.
- If the Preston Avenue sub-station is not expanded - cost:
$3 million - to accommodate growth, power supply to parts
of the campus will be compromised.
Other items requested in the capital budget section of
the document include:
- $500,000 for start-up grants for new faculty;
- $1 million to upgrade audio-visual/computer equipment
and 18 lecture theatres for teaching;
- $1.3 million "to begin to address the backlog of equipment
needs and to recognize current requirements";
- $1.5 million to replace desktop computers and
research equipment to ensure Y2000 compliance; and
- $750,000 to replace application servers, and an
additional $750,000 "for upgraded servers able to run more complex
systems that address Y2000 problems and recognize current
The $1-million revitalization request presents two
proposals: one, requesting that the revitalization budget
be maintained at $3 million, as in the last two years, and
that collaborative proposals between the two Universities be
given priority; the other, suggesting the establishment of a matching
fund for enhancing research and for financial aid for students.
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