WMU News

Trustees sign off on leases, other business items

Oct. 29, 2001

KALAMAZOO -- Western Michigan University trustees approved a number of business items at their regular meeting Friday, Oct. 26, including renewal of two leases, the retention of an investment firm and a change in the amount employees can set aside for retirement.

Members of the Board of Trustees authorized WMU officials to extend a lease to National City Bank of Michigan/Illinois for a branch location on the ground floor of the Bernhard Center in the University's Bronco Mall. Trustees agreed to extend the agreement, with rent adjustments, for two years. The original lease had expired June 30, 2001, and the extension will run through June 30, 2003, with three additional one-year optional extensions.

University administrators were also authorized to negotiate and execute a lease with National City to add two new automatic teller machines on campus. Currently, the WMU campus has four ATM machines, three belonging to National City and one belonging to Standard Federal Bank. The new ATMs will be located on the first floor of Sprau Tower and on Gilkinson Avenue near Sindecuse Health Center, two high-traffic locations identified with the assistance of the Western Student Association.

In related action, trustees approved a new location for WMU's Center for Disability Services. Currently located at 1627 West Main Street, the center will move to a 4,200-square-foot suite at 6857 West Main Street. Board members authorized University officials to enter into a new lease at a cost of $46,200 annually, not to exceed three years, with Tracy Enterprises Inc., which owns the facility.

Other University business taken up at the meeting included the retention of State Street Corp. to provide investment and administrative services for the University's Annuity and Life Income Funds program. Trustees approved a recommendation to maintain the University's relationship with State Street, which was made after a review of other fund investment and administrative firms.

Trustees also authorized the WMU administration to raise deferral limits for employee 403(b) plans, in keeping with provisions in the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001, which was signed into law last summer. The law repealed the complex calculations required to determine the maximum amount that employees can defer each year, raising the limit to 100 percent of compensation up to $11,000, effective Jan. 1, 2002. Each year thereafter, through calendar year 2006, the elective deferral maximum will increase by $1,000. University officials will enact all necessary actions to allow employees to take full advantage of the new limits.

In related action, trustees authorized the adoption of a 457(b) plan at the University. Deferral limits for 457(b) plans have traditionally been lower than those for a 403(b), but the Tax Relief Reconciliation Act raised limits for both plans to $11,000. With both types of plans now available, WMU employees will be able to defer up to $22,000 annually beginning Jan. 1.

In routine action, members of the board of trustees also approved the University's Capital Outlay Project Request for 2002/03. Submitting such a list of projects to the state of Michigan for consideration by the governor and Legislature is an annual requirement of public institutions of higher education.

Media contact: Jessica English, 616 387-8400, jessica.english@wmich.edu

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