Montana Board of Regents

 of Higher Education 

Minutes

 

SPECIAL Meeting

 

May 10, 2005

 

The University of Montana-Missoula

Ballroom, University Center

Third Floor

Missoula, MT 59812

These Minutes were approved unanimously by the Board of Regents at the September 21-23, 2005 meeting in Billings, MT


TUESDAY, May 10, 2005

 

The Full Board Convened at 1:30 P.m.

ROLL CALL

Roll Call Indicated a Quorum Present

Regents Present:  Stephen Barrett, Mike Foster Vice Chair, Lynn Hamilton, Kala French, John Mercer Chair, Mark Semmens, and Lila Taylor.  Also present was Commissioner Sheila M. Stearns

Regent Absent:  Governor Brian Schweitzer ex officio, and Linda McCulloch ex officio both excused


ADMINISTRATIVE/BUDGET ITEMS

a.

ITEM 127-1001-S0505 - Intercollegiate Athletics Financial Accomplishments and Revised Plan; The University of Montana-Missoula  Attachment 1    Attachment 2    Attachment 3    Attachment 4    Attachment 5

President Dennison gave an update on the accomplishments of the campus in reducing the deficit in the Athletic budget.  He believes they should be able to eliminate it by 2007, but have reported 2008 on the side of caution.  They have also reduced the game day price of tickets for students from $7 to $4.  Based on the recommendations of Don Read they now have one stop shopping with centralized ticketing which frees up the Griz Scholarship group to do fund raising.  He commended Don Read and the collegiate athletics department.

   Regent Semmens moved APPROVAL of Item a.

Chair Mercer stated he was proud to see how well this was turning out.  He said The University of Montana and the Athletic Department deserve praise, because there was a mess and it was cleaned up ahead of schedule, and they went on to play in the finals.  The State needs to appreciate this accomplishment.

   Motion APPROVED unanimously on 7-0 vote.

b.

ITEM 127-1003-S0505 - Authorization to Confer the Title of Athletic Director Emeritus for Intercollegiate Athletics Upon Don Read; The University of Montana-Missoula

Commissioner Stearns said it was her pleasure and honor to have known and worked with Don Read over the last many years.  She said many people over the years had said that as a Coach and as the Athletic Director, Don Read had always treated them with respect and attention.  President Dennison said he didn’t know if there were words to convey his appreciation, and that Don Read had done a marvelous job.  President Dennison said that Don Read is a wonderful human being, an excellent coach, and a fine administrator.  He thanked him for his service to the university.  Don Read indicated he was touched by the comments of President Dennison and Commissioner Stearns.  He found it an honor to work at the university and to serve the State every single day.  He appreciates their recognition of what has been accomplished in the Athletics Department.

   Regent Mercer moved APPROVAL of Item b.

   Motion APPROVED unanimously on 7-0 vote.

c.

ITEM 127-1002-S0505 – A request from the Chairman of the Board of Regents that the Board approve or disapprove further planning for the construction of a University Linked Residential Community at The University of Montana - Missoula  Executive Summary   Frequently Asked Questions
President Dennison reported they needed to find ways to diversify their revenues and use whatever mechanisms possible to contribute to the academic programs on campus.  This proposal is not new, but is used around the country.  The area is dormant and could be converted to an active asset.  They have identified a portion of the area to build a community to get a return on the land.  Although the numbers were not final, they expected about a 10% return over sixty years.  If the land was sold for $8,000,000, the return on the endowment would be less than half of that.  This proposal would make $800,000 available to the university each year.  It would also provide intergenerational diversity by bringing in people who enjoy college students, and enjoy mentoring and interacting.  Missoula and Montana would benefit from construction jobs and increased taxes of about $700,000.  The land will not be sold, and at the end of 60 years everything reverts to the university.  Mr. Walt Brett who will participate in this partnership, outlined the parameters of the proposal.  UM indicated they could not put in any money, they would not sell the land, and there could be no financial risk to UM.  An evaluation was done in regard to the feasibility of the proposal.  Mr. Jim Heid of Irvin Greene indicated the proposal represents a significant opportunity for Missoula.  He gave a quick overview of the plans thus far, and what they had done to address the concerns they had heard from the community.  Their group looked at the best practices around the country, performed a high quality market study, and did a comprehensive master plan for the 150 acres.  Of the 150 acres 119 are now undeveloped, and in the ultimate plan 82 will remain undeveloped.  Presently the main campus has 42% open space, and the campus in question has 46% open space.  In open house meetings with local residents, the main theme is the role of open space in this community with access and use.  Questions were raised on future expansion, and traffic problems.  Mike Kephart, the architect and physical planner explained there would be 319 homes in the first stage.  They were planning four types of homes for diversity in style and costs – cottages, duplexes, condos, and senior living.  Very little area is dedicated to parking because of underground parking, or garages.

Public Input


Mr. Jeff Easton was neutral on the proposal, but believed it should have gone through the bid process.

 

The following individuals gave oral testimony on the proposed development:

Against:

Jim Heid

Erica Erickson

Mike Kenhardt

Darrell Ferderess

Brad Cederberg, President ASUM Senate

Michael Neal

Chris Healow, former ASUM Senator

John Wilkens

Vicki Cocchiarella, State Senator

Ethel MacDonald

Jim VanFossum

Charles Tribe

Dorothy Servis, presented a petition with 6,385 signatures against the proposal

Karen Wilson

Peter Boyington

Elise Crull

Ken Lousen

Nick Nack

Jeff Stevens

Susan Campbell Reneau

Haleigh Smith

Cindy Cone

Gayle Melford

Cindy unknown last name (student)

Diane Pickens

Darrell Anderson

Jim Lewis

Ann Loughlin

Phyllis Bookbinder

Ray Nelson

Ted Marchie

Ken Wall

Jerry and John Fisher

Carl Rebich

Ian Lange

Dick Adler

Seth Wilson

Lee Torgrimson

Harold Hoem

Donald Lepinsky

Phillip Maechling

Harry Sievert

Laurie Childress

Celeste River

Lee Clemmensen

 

Supporting:

Don and Pat Simmons

Dick King

Bill Reynolds

Bob Hauck

Mr. Dana Beck

Pat Correck

Brian Thornton

Larry Cole

Bill Johnston

Dave Paoli

Jeff Easton

Derrick Duncan

 

Written Testimony was provided by the following individuals:

Against:

3 Anonymous

Ian Lange

Lorraine V. Wamsley

Members of the Ladies and Men’s Golf Assns.

Jaime Bailey Spaulding

Lucinda Cone

Arthur Anderson

Jane Lewis Rectenwald

Margaret Harris

Barbara Wilson Gorsh

Jay Ottman

Marie Ferkovich

Barry Burke

Jean Murashige

Marlin Edwards

Betty Millhouse Stinchfield

Jeena Christopherson

Martha Lauterback

Beverly J. Riley

Jerry Sirockman

Maurice Guay

Bill Bakeberg

Joan Gillespie

Michelle Tanberg

Bill Silverman

Joe Jedrykowski

Paddy Barron

Bonnie March

John Davis

Patricia Adams

Catherine Rasmussen

John Fisher

Paul Crowley

Charles and Dorothy Mattix

Joseph W. Gorsh

Paula Hoffer Raines

Clarence “Snuff” Frisbee

Joyce Gale

Paula Raines

Chuck Partaker

Joyce Swingendorf

Peg and Jay Ottman

Cynthia Manning

Judy Ross

Penelope Stephens

DeLynn Colvert

Julie Goebel

Perry Jones

Diane Haddon

Julie Hacker

Ray Grossman

Dianne Pickens

Julie Huck

Rick Curtis

Don and Lavonne Larson

Kara Shapiro

Robert B Hausmann

Don Lepinsky

Karl Hallman

Roger Tulberg

Don Marthaller

Kathy Noble

Sally Hickman

Donna Oberhofer

Kendall Cleaves

Sandra Davis

Dottie Servis

Kenneth Lousen

Scott Rohan-Smith

Duane Olson

Larry Coryell

Seth Wilson

Eleanor McGregor

Larry Waldman

Shirley Hubbard

Gary Widle

Larry Winstel

Steve Cummings

George “Sonny” Gratzer

Laura E. Pahl

T. Ray Jacobs

Glen and Patti Welch

Laurie Childress

Thomas Adams

Glenn Hacker

Lee Torgrimson

Todd Weigand

H. D. Hampton

Lynn Ascher

Tom and Judy Hagan

Haleigh Smith with petition signed by 7 others

Lois Welch

Varen Chapman

Holly Sienkiewicz

Lorraine McCluskie

Wendell Beardsley

Supporting:

Daniel Berube

Linda Hermes

Don Simmons

Richard King

Katie George

 

Phone calls were received from the following individuals:

Against:

Julie Hacker

END PUBLIC INPUT


Following a 10-minute break, the Board reconvened at 5:25 p.m.


President Dennison commented that the plans are not final, but they want to proceed with the planning.  There is no financial expense to UM, it is not gated, but an open community, and the amount of open space will be about the same as on the main campus.  They looked at the need for academic building space and have enough for 40% expansion, which would accommodate a student population of 23,000.  Walt Brett applauded the passion they had heard today during public comment.  He pointed out approval today would not be for the project but to move forward with planning only, and to clear up public misconceptions.  He believes this project is in the best interest of the campus, but he respects the opinions expressed.  Regent Semmens asked if the City and County had taken a position on the project.  President Dennison indicated he didn’t think they took a position, but it was discussed with the City Council and the Facilities Committee on campus.  Regent Semmens noted the lack of student involvement, and that this project is not part of the long-term master plan.  President Dennison said it is not in the master plan, but has been discussed with the Student Housing Committee.  It was not discussed with students because it is still in the early planning stages.  Regent Foster asked about the timing on bringing such proposals to the Board.  He wanted to know what the magic moment is to present a proposal that is neither too early nor too late.  President Dennison replied he had mentioned it to the Board for the first time about a year prior.  They continued to talk about it throughout the year.  He agreed he did not have the answer to what would be the appropriate time to approach the Board on such items.  President Dennison indicated that it was too early in the planning process to say yes or no to decide to actually commit to the project, but they need to continue the planning to make a reasonable decision.  Chair Mercer noted the lack of procedures or directions in policy, and a lot of work had been done at the campus level, and lots of money spent.  He indicated the Commissioner should come up with specific timelines for these issues.  Regent Semmens thanked the public for joining the meeting, and commended President Dennison and his staff for seeking creative ways to create incremental revenues.  He indicated the State level of funding for peer states is 28% higher than Montana.  He appealed for help from the public.  Regent Barrett indicated it was too early to be opposed to the plan or to support it.  The decision today is whether they want to study it to get the needed answers.  Regent Barrett has questions on how the funds would be used, the generation of taxes, implications of the tradeoff of space to the proposed use, if there are alternate sites, what are the zoning requirements, what is the partnership, what are the dollars, and if this is the appropriate mechanism.  He noted that intelligent examination of all the alternatives is good.  He believes the Board would be remiss if they did not authorize UM to get the answers.

  Regent Semmens moved to SUSPEND active planning on this project, and to evaluate the best and highest use of the land, and alternate means and forms of revenue generation.

Regent Hamilton indicated this issue had been before the Board at least three times with no real discussion by the Board.  She noted the Board was aware this was taking place even if it was not well developed.  Regent Hamilton indicated the campus had done what the Board requested of them by going to the community first.  The golf course now generates $14,000, but the proposed development would generate $800,000.  She indicated the Board needed to give clear directions to the developers, and that she would vote against this motion.  Regent Semmens said it is not clear, and needs additional work and input from the students.  Regent Foster indicated he thought there would be action taken at this meeting to approve the development, but the community is not embracing the proposal, and he cannot support it.  Regent French said the students gave a clear message that they do not support this proposal, mostly because of the location, but also because they don’t feel the $61 tuition relief would offset the loss of something they want and use.  She indicated she appreciated the option for the campus to continue to find some way to generate revenue since the Board has directed the campuses to do this very thing, and she doesn’t want to see them discouraged.  Regent French said she hoped the China issue would continue regardless of the outcome on this item.  Regent Barrett said they needed to focus on what they came to do.  He would expect the campus to come back with the reason this proposal is better than something else.  Regent Semmens indicated it would be a mistake to have the campus put in more time and money based on the input received today.  He preferred a broader study for opportunities aside from this proposal.  Regent Taylor agreed with Regent Semmens, and wasn’t sure the MUS should be in the residential development business.  Regent Hamilton asked if the Motion was approved, how long they would give students for their input, and when would the Board want all this information.  Chair Mercer asked if the Motion was approved, if it meant the campus could not start again until the Board took formal action.  Regent Semmens indicated he hadn’t thought that through.  The time frame would require guidance from the campus.  These are very important, long-term, and permanent decisions that merit careful deliberation.  He did not believe that trying to accomplish this in four months made a lot of sense.  Regent French said it must be made clear that the students have already said they are against this proposal.  Chair Mercer indicated he did not want to lead people on and have them continue to put in their money.  In weighing the input, he did not think it was good to build a residence on the golf course.  He indicated he would like to take a vote to stop the proposal.

   Motion FAILED on 4-3 vote with Regents Mercer, Semmens and Taylor supporting.

   Regent Foster moved to NOT ADOPT the proposal, and for planning to be discontinued.

Regent French asked if the Motion was for the south campus, or in general.  Regent Foster indicated it would be for the south campus only.  Regent Barrett urged the Board to deny the Motion because he wanted to hear the answers to the questions raised at this meeting.  He is concerned the Board is creating a Catch 22 for the campuses to deal with any complex issues.

   Motion APPROVED on 5-2 vote with Regents Barrett and Hamilton dissenting.

Commissioner Stearns noted that regardless of the outcome, the issue was first brought to the Board in July of last year.  She believed it was her obligation, and if the campuses are caught in a Catch 22, it is not the system’s finest hour.  The campus should have been advised sooner.  She indicated the Board had taken the issue seriously, but she also felt the heartburn and heartbreak of the people who did not make a secret of this issue, but had no defined process to follow.  Chair Mercer indicated there is a difference between informing the Board and getting the Board’s approval.


With no further business to come before the Board, the meeting adjourned at 6:30 p.m.


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