Amid crisis, UM spends $100,000 for office renovations

October 23, 1991|By John Rivera|

The University of Maryland, facing a $62 million shortfall in the coming fiscal year that has led to tuition increases and layoffs, is spending more than $100,000 to reconfigure and renovate office space in its administration building.

Renovations include building three enclosed offices for the senior staff of the Maryland Institute for Agricultural and Natural Resources, which is moving it staff from the College Park campus to the nearby William H. J. Elkins administration building in Adelphi, said Sheila M. Tolliver, assistant vice chancellor.

In addition, a large room that was used for a mainframe computer will be converted into office space and another enclosed office built there for the vice chancellor of public affairs, a position that was created when the number of vice chancellors was reduced from five to three last year, Dr. Tolliver said.

"It will allow for us to make for a more quality use of the space that we have," she said. Existing office space had to be rearranged after the administration staff was reduced by half last year.

The three agricultural institute offices, which will be used by its president and two vice presidents and paid for out of its budget, will cost $46,900. The institute supervises agricultural research activity and advises farmers through its extension division. The move will free space in a building on the College Park campus that houses several academic departments.

Building the new vice chancellor's office will cost $20,800 and renovating the former computer room will cost $34,200, which will come out of the Central Administration budget. The renovations have been planned for more than a year, before the current budget woes began. The project was scaled back by more than $70,000 because of budget cuts, Dr. Tolliver said.

But that is not likely to arouse sympathy among students, who were hit with a 15 percent surcharge for the next semester and face tuition increases averaging 16 percent in the fall of 1992.

Callan M. David, a senior economics major and a student government member, said the money could have been better spent. He pointed out that because of budget cutbacks, students with more than 90 credits can only register for one core course next semester. Core courses are the general education courses required for graduation, and because many students put several of them off until their senior year, their graduation will be postponed, he said.

"I think it's just totally unfair that the administration would spend money making their offices look nicer while students are struggling in the registration line to find classes," Mr. David said.

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