Ed Tate, UIC News Bureau Hoping that the financial problems facing Illinois legislators won't stop them from boosting the state's contribution to the UI, last week the university board of trustees approved a budget proposal for next year that requests a considerably greater increase in state money than the UI received this year. The proposal for fiscal year 1996-1997 asks for a 6.2 percent increase in state appropriations for the UI's operations - a request larger than the 4.5 percent hike the university received this year. "We have assembled the request with an eye on our most critical budget needs, while recognizing that we cannot expect the state to meet the full range of our fiscal requirements," said UI President James J. Stukel. "After adequate salary needs, the largest single component of the request addresses academic program improvements. Their focus is undergraduate education, and particularly the efforts to restore our instructional faculty base and to extend the benefits of technological advances to more students and to more courses." The budget proposal's highlights include salary increases for faculty and staff members of about 4.5 percent, which would cost nearly $27 million, and academic program improvements totalling $9.3 million. The goal is "preserving the quality of the UI education," said Sylvia Manning, vice president for academic affairs. "With faculty salaries in Chicago there's a compression problem, which you haven't heard as much about as the competitive problem in Urbana. Progress has been made but there's still a way to go." Academic funding increases include $4.1 million for "strengthening the academic base" at UIC, Urbana and Springfield through employment of new faculty members and teaching assistants; providing "capstone" courses and research opportunities for upper-level students; improving or beginning programs in selected colleges; and expanding the Discovery Program at UIUC. University officials point out that at Urbana, for example, financial pressures have meant the loss of 167 full-time-equivalent faculty positions and increased class sizes over the past 10 years. The university also proposes an investment of nearly $3.1 million in instructional technology in classrooms and computer services for students and faculty. Capital budget proposal The UI's FY1997 list of proposed capital projects totals $81.3 million. No state funds were appropriated this year for construction and renovation projects, after the state gave the university about $31 million in each of the prior two years for capital programs. Heading the new list is $12 million for repair and renovation projects on all three campuses. Among the other projects, in descending order of priority, the UI is requesting almost $7.9 million to match a similar amount of funds already raised to help build a new $16 million agriculture library at Urbana, $4 million to start planning and designing a new $66 million College of Medicine building at UIC, $9.5 million for a campus chiller system at UIUC and nearly $2.3 million for new roads on the Springfield campus. The UI's funding request goes to the Illinois Board of Higher Education, the governor's office and the legislature, all of which can make changes, resulting in a slightly different and usually smaller state appropriation to the university. Also at the Sept. 14 meeting at UIC, board members endorsed a revised $1.93 billion spending plan for the fiscal year that started July 1. Urbana's revenues and expenditures will be about $909 million; UIC's will be nearly $882 million; the Springfield campus budget is $36 million; and universitywide administration and programs will be about $106 million. The state share of the university's budget this year dropped for the sixth consecutive year to 32.1 percent, the all-time low. State tax support made up nearly half of the UI budget just 15 years ago. "For all the hand-wringing that we do from time to time, we do need to reflect on the good support we received from the state this year," commented board chair Thomas Lamont, D-Springfield. Toward the meeting's end, Trustee Judith Calder, D-Glencoe, suggested an installation ceremony for James Stukel, who became university president Aug. 1. Calder represented the UI last year at a ceremony honoring John Piderit, S.J., the new president of Loyola University Chicago. "Most world-class universities have formal installation ceremonies, and we should do no less," Calder said. Trustee Gravenhorst endorsed the idea and Lamont agreed, suggesting that it deserves further consideration, but no action was taken. he UI Board of Trustees' buildings and grounds committee enthusiastically endorsed the architect's final design for the new ambulatory care facility at UIC, a four-story building that would straddle Taylor Street and have second-floor walkways linking it with the UI Hospital, Neuropsychiatric Institute, Eye and Ear Infirmary, and Wood Street parking garage. Estimated to cost at least $55 million to 60 million to build, it will house physicians' office, examining rooms, a cancer center, an MRI facility (magnetic resonance imaging), and centers for children and adolescents, dermatology and allergy, surgery and other specialties. Architects from Perkins and Will, Chicago, displayed drawings and a model of the red brick and glass asymmetrical building that will be located on currently open areas at the northwest and southwest corners of Taylor and Wood streets. "It's just a sensational building," said Trustee Susan Gravenhorst, R-Lake Bluff. "It will add class and excitement to the medical center." Trustee Lamont added, "Not only am I impressed with the aesthetics, but with the speed with which it was developed and the way it has been financed." The medical center's strategic investment fund and a bond issue will cover construction costs of the ambulatory care facility, officials said, with repayment coming from income generated by clinic operations. The board awarded Perkins & Will a second contract for the project, this one for more than $2.1 million, for bid-document preparation, construction administration and related services. Trustees also approved hiring Turner Construction Co. of Chicago for construction management on the ambulatory-care project at a cost of about $1 million. There was less good news on the progress of the $6.7 million admissions building for Urbana. Craig Bazzani, vice president for business and finance, told trustees about the demise of Ware Associates of Chicago, the architectural firm hired to design the building. The plans were about "95 percent" complete, he said, so a new architect will have to be hired to finish the design work and preparation of bid documents. Due to the complications created, Bazzani said, "We may see some erosion of the quality of the building." The financial impact of the change in architects, which he estimated to be $500,000, may mean less costly amenities and cosmetics in the facility. "In light of things that have happened recently, I would encourage you to redouble your efforts to make sure that these (bidders) are solid people, financially sound and capable of doing the work," trustee William Engelbrecht, R-Henry, told university officials.