By Ed Enoch
The budget for the upgrades at Bryant-Denny Stadium has surpassed $100 million, while the University of Alabama’s operating budget for the upcoming year is projected to grow to $1.1 billion.
The University of Alabama System approved the operating budgets for its three campuses and the increases to the cost of the stadium project as part of a lengthy agenda on Friday.
The UA will begin operating under the $1.1 billion fiscal year 2020 budget in October. The budget for the upcoming fiscal year projects revenues to increase 5% and expenses growing by 4.8% compared to the current fiscal year.
The budget includes $9.8 million for 2.25% merit increases and promotions, $2.7 million for graduate stipends, $5.9 million for increases in compensation in auxiliary services, and $1.9 million for new faculty and staff with associated benefit.
The budget also includes $3.6 million for mandatory cost increases such as software licensing and pensions and health insurance, $5.8 million for scholarships and student aid, and $4.3 million for debt service.
The University of Alabama at Birmingham’s budget for fiscal year 2020 is $1.41 billion, up from its current budget of $1.32 billion. The University Hospital’s operating budget is about $2 billion for Fiscal year 2020. The University of Alabama in Huntsville’s operating budget is $244.4 million, up from the current budget of $235 million. The system’s operating budget for fiscal year 2020 is $21.8 million.
The trustees increased the budget for the upgrades to Bryant-Denny Stadium from $92.5 million to $106 million on Friday. The board approved revising the budget after construction bids came in higher than expected in August. The work remains on track to begin after the 2019 season and be completed in time for the 2020 season.
The board also approved two new projects that will affect areas around the stadium.
The trustees the preliminary plans for a $3.5 million project to redesign the traffic flow on Colonial Drive between University Boulevard and Paul W. Bryant Drive.
“This has been a heavily abused road in the last few years,” Vice President of Financial Affairs Matt Fajack said of the stretch of road where most of the sorority houses have undergone renovation in recent years.
The project will allow north and southbound bus and bike traffic with standard vehicle traffic remaining one-way southbound. The project will also add pedestrian lighting.
The changes are expected to improve traffic flow in the area, Fajack said. The project also includes installation of some static and removable bollards that will be used for vehicle control for football home games without disrupting pedestrian traffic.
The trustees also approves plans for a $1.5 million project to relocate the existing satellite dishes and antennas beside Reese Phifer Hall to the UA Police Department tower site on the eastern edge of campus along Campus Drive and the disposal of the old communications tower.
The hall sits near the northeast corner of the stadium.
“This will free up some very valuable real estate,” Fajack said.