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EMU ‘Financially Healthy’

Posted on December 9th, 2009

University OKs $28.5M Budget Plus $2.4M In Commons’ Renovation

By Heather Bowser, Daily News-Record

Most private schools have endured a tough year financially, but Eastern Mennonite University has bucked that trend, officials there say. The Harrisonburg university remains “financially healthy,” recently passing a budget 3.4 percent larger than last year’s, EMU administrators said Tuesday.

The school’s 17-member board of trustees approved a $28.5 million spending plan for fiscal 2010, a figure that’s $952,000 more than in the 2009 budget.

Eastern Mennonite University recently approved a $28.5 million budget plus a capital renovation plan that includes the overhaul of the Mainstage Theater and other sites in the University Commons building at a cost of $2.4 million.
Eastern Mennonite University recently approved a $28.5 million budget plus a capital renovation plan that includes the overhaul of the Mainstage Theater and other sites in the University Commons building at a cost of $2.4 million. Photo by Nikki Fox

The increase was primarily driven by enrolling 84 more full-time students than in 2009, said Ron Piper, EMU’s vice president of finance. This year, 1,243 full-time students are enrolled at the university.

Also, nine more students are paying to live in dorms this year, which generates additional revenue, Piper said. With those two contributing factors, EMU was able to fill three non-teaching full-time positions previously left vacant.

In addition to approving the budget, university officials also adopted a $2.4 million spending plan to renovate the Mainstage Theater and other sites throughout the University Commons building.

Eastern Mennonite University is planning on renovating parts of the University Commons building, including the Mainstage Theater.
Eastern Mennonite University is planning on renovating parts of the University Commons building, including the Mainstage Theater. Photo by Nikki Fox

“EMU is doing moderately well in a challenging economic environment,” said Kirk Shisler, EMU vice president for advancement. “We are optimistic that we will be close to our fundraising targets.”

By The Numbers

Here’s a quick wrap-up of budget and money matters decided by EMU’s trustees and provided to the Daily News-Record on Tuesday by Piper.

Faculty, staff and “friends of the university” contributed $131,000 for “emergency student aid.” The fund was created to make up for a drop in scholarships from endowment investments. While total giving to the university is up 18 percent year to date, alumni giving to the annual fund is off 8 percent.

EMU’s new budget allocated $6,500 more in funding – up from $35,500 last year to $42,000 – to increase student counseling services.

Money for capital projects is down from last year’s $730,000 by about 42 percent to $420,300.

Renovation projects include a $120,000 job in the library building to create a new classroom for the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding. That project will change the facade of the building slightly on the east and north by adding windows on the lower level.

EMU’s board also authorized the administration to borrow $6 million to renovate Elmwood and Maplewood residence halls. Those projects are expected to start this summer and be completed by January 2011 and June 2011, respectively.

Story by Heather Bowser, Daily News-Record
Category: Alumni
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