MARQUETTE, Mich.—The Northern Michigan University Board of Trustees today approved a general fund operating budget for the current fiscal year. It is $103.5 million, down $2.3 million from the previous year. Michigan’s public universities were faced with a 15 percent cut in state appropriation for 2011-12. To compensate for its $6.7 loss in state funding, NMU’s budget includes a combination of cost reductions, operational adjustments, utility savings and increased tuition revenue, as discussed at the board’s July meeting. The board also approved the fiscal year 2013 capital outlay project request and five-year master plan. Both are required annually by the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget. Jamrich Hall, the primary classroom facility on campus, remains the top priority among capital projects. Two plans were presented that accomplish the goals of the project. One involves renovating the current facility, with an addition to house faculty offices. The other would remove the existing building and construct a new one closer to the Learning Resources Center. Both plans have the same construction budget, but the new building concept creates greater efficiencies in space utilization and operating costs. The board authorized the administration to continue investing up to $1.3 million in the design process so that work can begin in May. NMU’s total share of the $34 million project is $8.5 million. The board’s finance committee was updated on two other facilities projects. The Superior Dome roof replacement should be completed by the end of October, but is dependent on the weather. Workers cannot scale the surface when winds exceed 10 miles per hour or when it rains. Architectural design work continues on the biomass cogeneration project. Next week, contractors will begin to prepare the site by taking down the bulk of two buildings adjacent to the Ripley Heating Plant. Construction is scheduled to begin in April. In other action at today’s meeting, the board accepted $15,000 in gifts and more than $394,000 in external grants, agreed to grant Kerri Schuiling professor emeritus of nursing status; and approved the following meeting dates for calendar year 2012: Feb. 16-17 (tentative); May 3-4; July 12-13; Sept. 27-28; and Dec. 13-14. Trustees elected Brian Cloyd to a second year as chair of the board and Jon LaSalle as vice chair for 2012.