University of Northern Iowa President Ben Allen announced more proposed cuts Thursday to deal with a tight budget. Allen announced Wednesday he will ask the Board of Regents to close the Price Lab School in July.
Spokesman James O’Connor says the new round of cuts includes closing the museum building He says the idea is to integrate the museum collections into the library and other department buildings, as it would be too expensive to fix up the museum building.
That museum closing is expected to save some $200,000. O’Connor says the university will also shut down its print services operation.
“Print services at U.N.I. will close no later than the end June of this year, and we will be working with local vendors to make sure the services we had with print services are provided locally,” O’Connor explains.
He says it would have cost thousands to upgrade the print services operation. “Years ago print services was a vibrant ,full-service printing operation — this is back a couple of decades ago — but then copyright laws changed, and the needs changed, and online electronic things came into the fore,” O’Connor says.
“So the volume of work has decreased rapidly over the last few years, and our equipment has become outdated, so it’s no longer smart to stay in that business for the university.”
President Allen’s proposal will cut university support by $500,000 for the athletic department over the next three years. Athletic director, Troy Dannen, says that moves up the effort to make the department more self sufficient.
“A couple of years ago the Board of Regents approved a plan that reduced our funding and we were in the middle of adjusting to that plan,” Dannen says. “What this really does, one, it accelerates the plan, two it ultimately takes us to a lower level than what the plan originally called for.”
Dannen says there will be some cuts of internal positions and changes in how they do things, but nothing in daily operations that Panther fans will probably notice. “It forces us to really ramp up our external ways of support. We have 700-thousand dollars annually of unsold ticket inventory. We’ve got to do a better job of selling those tickets,” Dannen says.
He says things like the Panther scholarship club, the annual fund drive, and the capital campaign are really what are going to make up the cuts in the future. “Whether we are able to generate enough revenue to offset the cuts is going to lie with our community, with our supporters, with our donors and those who are vested in U.N.I. athletics,” Dannen says.
The school cut its baseball program back in 2008 in the face of budget cuts, but Dannen says there are no sports on the chopping block this time. “There is money in the bank to withstand an emerging situation like we are in right now that will help us and give us time to adjust. The magnitude of the cuts are severe, but it’s not catastrophic and we have a balanced operating budget, so it’s a much different situation than we had in 2008,” Dannen says.
The Board of Regents has already scheduled a meeting for next Monday to act on President Allen’s request to shut down the Price Lab School.