The renewal of employee health insurance and facility projects that relate to the Fraternity Complex, Nattinger-Bradshaw Hall, Wood Hall, and the W.C. Morris Science Building were approved by the University of Central Missouri Board of Governors when it met in plenary session Aug. 19.

Bill Hawley, vice president for finance and operations and board treasurer, presented the board a proposal to renew the university’s employee health insurance plan with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas City for 2022, which was approved. Hawley pointed out that the university currently has one plan, known as the Exclusive Provider Option.

He noted that with several claims during the current year that reach the $150,000 stop loss amount, the university is facing a 14.5 percent increase in premiums to maintain current benefit coverages for its employees and their families. Based on current enrollment, total annual projected premium cost for the university in 2022 is approximately $11.7 million, resulting in a difference of about $1.5 million above this year’s cost.

The proposal accepted by the board calls for UCM to fund the majority of the increase while increasing the premium paid by employees by 2.34 percent across all levels of coverage. UCM currently funds approximately 73 percent of the total premiums, but beginning Jan 1, 2022, it will increase its funding to 76 percent of the total cost for coverage. In 2022, this means an employee-only plan will cost $766.61 per month, up from $669.50 in 2021. Effective in January, an employee with “Employee Only” coverage will pay $34.26 per month of the total premium cost, which is less than $1 more per month than they paid for their portion of the monthly premium in 2021. The employee portion varies, however, depending on if they have a spouse, children, or their entire family on their plan.

The board discussed a number of matters in committee sessions that were included on the consent agenda approved during the plenary session. Among them was the award of a $491,400 contract with Major Abatement and Demolition, Inc., Blue Springs, Missouri, to provide all labor, materials, equipment, supplies, insurance, permit fees and other items necessary for the completion of asbestos abatement and related work necessary at the Fraternity Complex and Nattinger-Bradsahaw Halls. This is in addition to a $901,200 contract with Dore & Associates Inc., Bay City, Michigan, to demolish these structures.

These costs will be covered through University Housing funds. Hawley said federal and state regulations require asbestos removal before the demolition of these facilities. The general conditions of these buildings are such that the costs to renovate them significantly outweigh the benefits of doing so. The Fraternity Complex is currently offline due to significant mechanical issues that are not cost-effective to repair. Nattinger-Bradshaw is outdated and would require significant expenditures for mechanical systems in order to continue its operation.

Projections indicate UCM will have sufficient housing inventory without these facilities for at least the next 10 years. Abatement and demolition is projected to be completed by January 2022.

A $851,400 contract was approved with Westport Construction Company, Clinton, for the installation of high-quality recording studio spaces that comprise multiple control rooms sharing central recording spaces on the ground floor of Wood Hall. In fall 2015, the Music Technology program began to move into this area because it provided an opportunity to better serve the needs of the program than its previous location in Hudson Hall. The proposed renovations will primarily involve subdividing large rooms into smaller spaces to allow musicians and engineers to see and hear each other via windows and microphones, while remaining acoustically and environmentally isolated from each other.

These renovations facilitate and promote accepted safe practices during times such as pandemic, but also support the longer-term recruiting and pedagogical goals of the program. They afford students the opportunity to engage deeply with industry-standard practices and techniques. CARES funding will help make this project possible.

The board approved a $443,773 contract with Oke-Thomas and Associates Inc., Springfield, Missouri, for labor and materials to install new acoustical ceiling panels, lights and diffusers, and to clean the metal ceiling grid in Wood Hall. The existing ceiling panels have bowed due to age reducing the efficiency of the air-conditioning return air plenum. Installing new acoustical ceiling panels will seal the air-conditioning return air plenum and act as a fire barrier. This project is being funded through Federal Budget Stabilization Funds (FBSF) that were released by Missouri Gov. Mike Parson in January 2021.

A $509,027 project at W.C. Morris Science Building utilizing Diamond Contractors, Inc., Lee’s Summit, Missouri, was approved with regard to the removal of single pane rubber gasket windows, including mini-blades, and installation of new thermally broke aluminum storefront windows with roller shades. This will improve the integrity of the building, which was constructed in 1967, and reduce thermal gain inside the structure, which will improve interior comfort and energy efficiency. Federal Budget Stabilization Funds will pay for this project.

In the photo: During the University of Central Missouri’s Board of Governors meeting Aug. 19, Board President Stephen Abney, left, and University President Roger Best, right, congratulate Krystle Gremaud on being named the National Academic Advising Association’s (NACADA) winner of the Outstanding Advising Award – Faculty Advising. Gremaud is assistant professor and program coordinator for Career and Technical Education in the School of Professional Education and Leadership. NACADA’s Global Awards Program for Academic Advising honors individuals and institutions that are making a significant impact on academic advising.