KNOXVILLE – Chancellors at University of Tennessee campuses presented justification for their decisions to opt out of contracted facilities management services to the UT Board of Trustees on Friday.
The University participated in a statewide process that began in 2015 to examine the potential to reduce costs for operating state-owned facilities. After receiving final proposals almost one month ago from Jones Lang LaSalle Americas (JLL), leaders at each campus reviewed them before making their decisions. The UT Health Science Center, which already uses contracted facilities management services, opted to use a portion of JLL’s proposal for that campus. Leaders for UT campuses at Chattanooga, Knoxville and Martin opted not to use outsourced services.
“I respect the campus decisions, and I re-emphasize that they now must be accountable for identifying and achieving the desired savings by other means,” said UT President Joe DiPietro.
UT Knoxville Chancellor Beverly Davenport said the “decision to opt out was based on the extensive analyses of the financial considerations, the complexity of the work done on our research-intensive campus, and our commitment to the East Tennessee economy and our workforce.” Campus officials stated a JLL estimate of $5.2 million in savings decreased to just more than $900,000 once UT Knoxville campus officials adjusted the proposal to reflect the costs of contract management, an incentive payment to JLL, contingencies and paying for accrued leave time for transitioning employees.
For UT Chattanooga, the decision came down to the JLL cost proposal exceeding current campus costs by more than $260,000.
“The way the numbers worked out, it was a very easy decision for us,” said UTC Chancellor Steve Angle.
UT Martin Chancellor Keith Carver said the estimated cost reduction for that campus was less than $14,000 annually. Carver said that UT Martin on its own will seek to increase savings and efficiencies in physical plant and housing maintenance through opportunities JLL outlined during its site tour.
“We are a lean operation and have a real spirit of team, but there are ways we can get better,” Carver said. “We’ll work to do so.”
UT Health Science Center Chancellor Steve Schwab said the decision not to use all of JLL’s proposed services is based on projected savings coming only through procurement and campus satisfaction with staff performance, including outsourced comprehensive landscape services. Schwab said the campus will work to generate procurement savings going forward. The center did opt to use JLL for its mechanical services, which it currently outsources.
Trustees approved a change in phase 1 of UT Knoxville Neyland Stadium renovations in scope and cost, increasing from $106 million to $180 million. The total renovation, over two phases, is expected to cost $340 million. In Thursday’s athletics committee meeting, UT Knoxville Athletic Director John Currie requested changing the project’s scope to solve critical needs and, ultimately, to hold down total renovation costs. The first phase includes updating restrooms, concessions and concourses as well as improving security and access. It also includes updating the exterior to reflect the campus’ architectural standards.
“With 97 years of history, we believe our investment is a reasonable and prudent one,” Currie said.
The project is to be funded primarily by a capital campaign and revenue generated by new premium seating and Neyland Stadium support contributions along with debt service covering almost 16 percent of the project’s cost.
Trustees also approved a five-year schedule reflecting more than $795 million in state-funded capital projects. University officials now submit the projects list to state government for approval and will seek funding for approved projects in the upcoming fiscal year that begins on July 1, 2018.
The request for fiscal 2018-2019 will be for two projects totaling more than $90 million, including the institutional funding matches mandated by state law. The projects are two UT Institute of Agriculture buildings with a new Energy and Environmental Science Research Building with a cost of $84 million and expanding the Veterinary Medical Center to add a teaching and learning center at a cost of $9 million. Future projects on the list are: a new nursing building for UT Knoxville; an audiology and speech pathology building for the UT Health Science Center; and a renovation of Maclellan Gym at UT Chattanooga.
Officials also plan to request state funding of more than $47 million for capital maintenance. Projects include work on the UT Institute of Agriculture College of Veterinary Medicine building, Cherokee Laboratory Animal Facility and Clyde York 4-H Center; roof replacements at UT Knoxville; security upgrades at the UT Health Science Center; improvements to Hunter Hall at UT Chattanooga and upgrades to UT Martin’s Hall Moody systems and chiller.
Also in upcoming fiscal year budget requests, the University will seek $1 million in recurring funds to add three Governor’s Chairs positions in 2018. Governor’s Chairs attract top researchers who work jointly at UT and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). Currently, 17 Governor’s Chairs are conducting research in areas ranging from advanced manufacturing and advanced materials to nuclear security and energy sciences.
“The Governor’s Chair program has been a game-changer for us in building research capacity statewide, particularly through our ORNL partnership,” DiPietro said.
Trustees approved the appointment of Stacey Patterson as UT vice president for research, outreach and economic development, and president of the UT Research Foundation. Patterson has served in those roles in an interim capacity since July, when former UT Senior Vice President David Millhorn transitioned to serving as national laboratory relations advisor for the University and was named senior vice president emeritus. Patterson previously was UT associate vice president for research and vice president of the UT Research Foundation.
“The University of Tennessee is fortunate to have in Stacey Patterson someone with top-notch scientific credentials, an understanding of the statewide UT system and expertise in conducting research and facilitating partnerships to sustain the remarkable momentum now in place,” DiPietro said.
UT achieved a record $481 million in research and sponsored program expenditures in the most recent fiscal year ended. Also in fiscal 2017, the UT Research Foundation filed 98 patents requests with the U.S. Patent Office with 24 patents and 17 new licenses granted, four technology-based startup companies created and an all-time high of 166 new inventions disclosed — an 18.5-percent increase from fiscal 2016. In the last five years, 141 U.S. patents have been issued for UT discoveries.
As part of the meeting, Davenport also presented on goals for UT Knoxville. While the campus has had a 7 percent enrollment growth in five years, Davenport has set a goal of 15 percent enrollment growth in five years. With a first-year retention rate of 86.5 percent, Davenport said she has set a new goal of 92 percent.
“If we can’t get them back to us, we can’t graduate them,” she said. “Our role is to graduate students.”
Davenport said she wants UT Knoxville’s graduation rate to increase from 70 percent to 80 percent.
In other business, trustees approved:
- UT Knoxville awarding an honorary doctor of humane letters degree to Scott Niswonger, who founded General Aviation, a cargo airline business, Landair Services, a transport company and Forward Air Corporation. The Niswonger Educational Foundation supports students in East Tennessee rural schools for their future careers.
Naming the UT Knoxville Haslam College of Business Global Leadership Scholars Program the Greg and Lisa Smith Global Leadership Scholars Program; the UT Martin sociology building entryway garden in memory of Barrett Michelle Horton, an alumnus and retired professor of social work; and the recreation hall at the Clyde M. York 4-H Center near Crossville to honor A.C. Clark for his work in UT Extension and as commissioner of agriculture for Tennessee.
Establishing a master’s degree in public health in chronic disease prevention and control at UT Chattanooga
A facilities master plan for Lone Oaks Farm
A board policy regulating smoking on University property
The University of Tennessee is a statewide system of higher education with campuses in Knoxville, Chattanooga, Martin and Memphis; the UT Space Institute in Tullahoma; the UT Institute of Agriculture with a presence in every Tennessee county; and the statewide Institute for Public Service. The UT system manages Oak Ridge National Laboratory through its UT-Battelle partnership; enrolls about 50,000 students statewide; produces about 10,000 new graduates every year; and represents more than 370,000 alumni around the world.