University News

Unexpected tuition surplus fast-tracks Faunce

By
Senior Staff Writer

A newly renovated Faunce House is on track to re-open by the time students arrive on campus next fall, earlier than originally planned, due to an unexpected surplus in net tuition income, administrators said.

Construction on the new Stephen Robert ’62 Campus Center in Faunce was previously slated for completion no earlier than December 2010.

The accelerated timetable was made possible by a surprise windfall — the University ended last year with a surplus of about $2 million in net tuition income because enrollment was higher than expected, according to Beppie Huidekoper, executive vice president for finance and administration.

The extra funds, a fiscal bright spot even as the University prepares to find $30 million in second-round budget cuts this fall, will cover the increased costs associated with speeding up the project, said Stephen Maiorisi, vice president for facilities management.

Administrators decided to allocate the surplus to a project that would benefit the students who made it possible, Huidekoper said told the Brown University Community Council last week.

Officials said it is unclear exactly how much additional cost will be associated with the accelerated timetable, or how the University will make up any discrepancy between the tuition surplus and the ultimate added costs to the project. Increased overtime compensation and fewer opportunities for competitive bidding will account for much of the extra cost, Maiorisi said.

In another time-saving measure, the University will depart slightly from its usual policy of finalizing all written plans before starting a project, and instead will begin construction on the interior space before finishing plans for some final details, such as layout and furnishing, Maiorisi said.

In accelerating the timeline, University planners made no major changes to the original design, he added.

The renovated campus center will include space for a Student Activities Office and increased meeting space for student organizations. Revamped spaces for the Blue Room Cafe, Leung Gallery and the Underground will be accessible through a new side entrance beneath a remodeled Faunce Arch.

Plans for the project were unveiled in the spring, and construction began during the summer. Most of Faunce is closed and will remain so throughout the current academic year. The Blue Room Cafe has remained open, temporarily relocated to the basement space that formerly housed the University mail room.