The Northern Michigan University Board of Trustees today approved an operating budget for the current fiscal year. It is $105.7 million, up $2.2 million or 2.1 percent from the previous year. The board also approved the fiscal year 2012 operating budget request, which public universities are required to submit annually as the first step in the higher education appropriations process. NMU is requesting a $2.7 million increase next year to cover current operations and absorb $680,000 in state-mandated contributions to both the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System (MPSERS) and Indian tuition waivers. Another state requirement is that universities submit annual capital outlay requests for priority projects. The board discussed those that are part of NMU's rolling five-year master plan. A $34 million proposal to modernize Jamrich Hall, the primary classroom facility on campus, has become the top priority. Other projects, in no particular order, include a new biomass-fueled combined heat and power cogeneration plant, renovations and an addition to the Learning Resource Center, an academic facilities upgrade and Cohodas Hall renovations. In other action, the board: ▪Approved the negotiated agreement between NMU and its administrative/professional union, UAW Local 2178, covering Oct. 1, 2009 through Sept. 30, 2012. . ▪Approved the purchase of a structure and property located at 1810 Presque Isle Avenue at a cost of $40,000 plus related expenses. ▪Elected Brian Cloyd as board chair and Jon LaSalle as vice chair for the 2011 calendar year. ▪Granted David Cooper and Donald Dreisbach professor emeritus status, effective Oct. 1, and approved tenure for Jeanne Lorentzen from the sociology and social work department.