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Oct. 29, 2021

Michigan State University Trustees approve five-year capital outlay plan

Michigan State University’s Board of Trustees today approved a capital outlay request to the state of Michigan seeking a $23 million investment to renovate and expand the university’s plant science greenhouses to support cutting-edge research, teaching and learning. 


The request aligns with the university’s strategic plan and, if granted by the state, will further MSU’s academic and research excellence goals. 


Currently, the greenhouse facilities serve 72 of MSU’s 150-plus plant science faculty members and 600 students engaged in 260 research grants from federal agencies. Most of the facilities were built between 1955 and 1978, with the most recent updates nearly 20 years ago. 


“Consistent with our strategic plan and our vision to further MSU’s academic and research excellence, we know we must invest in assets that further that vision,” said MSU President Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D. “This level of support from the state would generate additional investments in this important research and solidify our place as a top-five horticulture program in the nation and one of the 10 best programs in the world.”


This investment would expand research and funding opportunities that will spur additional discoveries, including in areas critical to Michigan’s agricultural community. It would advance areas where MSU already brings research excellence — crop yield improvement and resistance to stresses such as pests, drought, flooding and low nutrients. 


“The agricultural research conducted on Michigan State’s campus is second to none,” said MSU Board Chair Dianne Byrum. “This capital outlay request seeks not only to nurture continued important discoveries in agriculture, but to also fuel innovation with world-class research facilities that solve our most complex challenges.”


Trustees also heard a research presentation from Michael Dease, an award-winning trombonist and professor in the Department of Jazz Studies within the College of Music. In 2021, Dease won DownBeat magazine’s Critic’s Poll for Trombonist of the Year. In 2020, he was named JazzTime’s Jazz Trombonist of the Year. Dease’s presentation highlighted the research he undertakes for the development of his original music. 


Other actions from the board included: 

  • Authorization to plan for improvements to the main library, including renovations of the third floor of the east wing to improve temperature and humidity control that will improve preservation of collections. 
  • Acceptance of the audited financial statements for the year ended June 30, 2021.
  • Establishment of the Durr Summer Circle Fund, an endowment fund to be used by the Department of Theatre to support Summer Circle Theatre. Summer Theatre was founded in 1961 to create a summer theatre program for students and the East Lansing community.
  • Approval of a new contract and performance evaluation for President Stanley by the Board of Trustees.

The next board meeting will be Dec. 17.

By: Dan Olsen

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