From insurance carriers to hot water heaters, from paper to lawn mowers, from processes to proposals, West Virginia University administrators have scoured operations looking to reduce expenses or increase income, with a better-than-expected $12.4 million in savings.
“It is imperative that we are good stewards of our resources,” WVU President Jim Clements said. “We are committed to keeping the cost of higher education as low as possible and strengthening the quality of our programs at the same time, so we are taking steps to save on operating expenses, as well as to generate revenues that can be strategically invested.”
In 2010, the budget adopted by the Board of Governors for Fiscal 2011 included an anticipated $10 million in savings and new revenue to reach a balanced $901.4 million. Continued efforts have now reached $12.4 million and are detailed on a WVU Budget Savings website.
The largest impacts have come from energy savings through an agreement with Siemens Industry Inc. ($3.4 million), debt refinancing ($1.2 million), moving management of temporary jobs in-house ($1.4 million), better management of photocopy strategies ($900,000) and changing workers’ compensation insurance carriers ($600,000).
Also, a shift from maintaining a motor pool to leasing cars for university business has saved about $100,000. The purchase of more energy efficient maintenance equipment has also led to reductions in hours needed to keep facilities clean, officials say.
At the Health Sciences Center, several programs have been put in place to both extend the life of computers and to better control their purchase. Other moves have been to replace one of the three original, 50-year-old hot water systems, with plans to replace the other two. Thousands of dollars have also been saved through better inventory control and elimination of a service vehicle used at Charleston campus.
In addition to lowering expenses, new revenue has been added through a renegotiated contract with Coca-Cola to provide beverage services at the University ($1 million, plus $750,000 in equipment), renewal of the contract with Barnes and Noble to operate the bookstore ($1.6 million). Additional recycling of metal items at the Health Science Center has also been implemented, estimated to bring in about $10,000 in revenue by the end of this fiscal year.
“Everyone on campus is to be congratulated on their efforts to identify opportunities to save money, or bring in additional non-tuition revenue,” said Narvel Weese, vice president for administration and finance.
“It’s a process we will continue,” he said.
For more details about WVU’s budget reduction efforts, go to http://planning.wvu.edu/budget_planning/wvu-budget-savings .
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