The University will be publicly releasing the latest estimate of its endowment value on Thursday at the Board of Regents meeting, a highly-anticipated announcement following the fund’s dramatic drop in value for the 2009 fiscal year.
The numbers that will be announced on Thursday offer a freeze-frame of the endowment’s total value as of June 30, 2010 — the end of the University’s 2010 fiscal year.
Last year, the University’s endowment portfolio fell by $1.6 billion, dropping from an all-time high of $7.6 billion to $6 billion. The 21-percent drop hurt the University’s investment portfolio, but the loss on the endowment was less significant than at some peer institutions.
University spokeswoman Kelly Cunningham confirmed the returns and market value data for the endowment and the University’s investment portfolio for the 2010 fiscal year are set to be released on Thursday, but said that no details could be released prior to the regents’ meeting.
“It’s my understanding that the annual report on the University’s investments will be presented to the Board of Regents at Thursday’s meeting. Among other things the report will discuss the investment performance of the endowment funds including total value as of June 30, 2010,” Cunningham said.
However, in June, Tim Slottow, the University’s executive vice president and chief financial officer, wrote in a communication to the regents that he predicted the endowment would post 11.5 percent growth for the year. If that prediction held true, it would mean the University’s endowment would grow from $6 billion to $6.69 billion.
An increase of that nature would put the University’s endowment performance on par with that of other schools across the country, who have similarly seen their endowments rebound somewhat from significant losses in 2009.
Harvard University saw an 11-percent bump this year, which helped to offset a 27.3-percent loss in its endowment value last year. Similarly, Yale University saw an 8.9-percent increase in its endowment value, which had dropped 24.6 percent in 2009, and the University of Virginia gained 12.5 percent on its endowment, which fell by 21 percent in 2009.
The University’s Board of Regents voted to lower the University’s endowment payout rule over the summer, lowering the annual payout from 5 percent to 4.5 percent of the seven-year averaged value. Over time, this change will mean that the University is required to pay out a smaller percentage of the endowment’s total value each year.
Athletic Department requests additional $3 million in Crisler Arena renovations
The regents will also consider a proposal to increase funding for a project approved in January to renovate Crisler Arena.
The regents previously approved a $20 million proposal to replace the seats in the lower bowl of the arena, which will bring the University in line with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Additionally, the previously approved project will relocate, widen and add handrails to the aisles in seating areas. It will also replace the roof and remove asbestos from the building and replace heating and ventilation units and implement a new electrical system.
Updates to critical safety systems are also expected as part of the project, including a new fire detection, alarm and suppression system, as well as a new smoke evacuation system and emergency exit lighting.
The regents approved a schematic design for the project in July, when it was also announced that the student section would be moved to the west side of the stadium and the band would be moved to the north end of the stadium.
According to a communication sent to the regents, the additional $3 million is being requested so upper-bowl seating can also be replaced. Similar to the already approved lower-bowl seating replacement, aisles would be widened and handrails would be added.
Funding for the project, if approved as revised, would be provided by the Athletic Department, with construction expected to be completed in winter 2012.
University Hospitals and Health Centers requests improvements to Simpson Circle Parking Structure
The University’s Board of Regents is also expected to approve a renovation of the Simpson Circle Parking Structure on the Medical Campus on Thursday.
The structure was built in 1975 and has since undergone only minor repairs and improvements, according to a communication sent to the regents by Slottow and Ora Pescovitz, the University’s executive vice president for medical affairs.
Renovations are intended to designate approximately 470 parking spaces, currently used by staff, to patient and visitor parking for the new C.S. Mott Children’s and Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital, while also bringing the structure up to current standards.
The project’s scope includes repainting, new lighting, new directional signage, guardrail improvements and modifications to the entrances and exits of the structure. A new pedestrian bridge connecting to the hospital has also been proposed.
Pescovitz and Slottow wrote in their communication that the University’s strategic parking and transportation plan would address staff parking needs, which would include the use of additional commuter parking lots on North Campus.
The project is estimated to cost $3.15 million and, if approved, would be financed by resources from the University’s Hospitals and Health Centers as well as Parking and Transportation Services.
Construction is expected to be completed in the fall of 2011.
— Alyssa Adler contributed to this report.