Regents to consider land sale and budget issues

FORREST HOLT, Evergreen reporter

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The university’s highest governing body will consider a possible $15.3 million land sale and other possible budget issues during their first meetings of the school year on Thursday and Friday.

The Board of Regents unexpectedly cancelled a meeting earlier this semester after finding out they could not approve a land sale because the university did not know if it owned all of the facilities on the land it was planning to sell.

The Regents will vote on the sale at Friday’s meeting. Stacy Pearson, vice president for finance and administration, said the building ownership issue has since been straightened out. The university and the U.S. Department of Agriculture are in the process of formally transferring ownership of the nine buildings in question, Pearson said.

The airport’s previous proposal to purchase the land was for $15.3 million, about the same amount it would cost to relocate the facilities already on the property.

On Thursday’s meeting, Chief Budget Officer Joan King will update the Regents on the athletic budget, which showed a $12.9 million deficit in 2016. Athletics budgeted for a $9.4 million deficit for the 2017 fiscal year, but actually closed out the year with a $8.4 million deficit, according to Finance and Compliance Committee documents. Athletics is expecting further deficit reductions in the 2019 fiscal year.

Also at the meetings, the Board will consider university budget proposals, WSU President Kirk Schulz’s goals for the 2017-18 academic year and renaming Nevada Street to Waller Way and the Digital Classroom Building to the Spark Academic Innovation Hub.

Reporting by Forrest Holt