EMU's President's House Cost $3.5 Million (well, unless you really want to count that other $1.5 million…)

I came home to my own modest abode with my wife and son (we had just stopped to get our Christmas tree) to read an enormous article in the Ann Arbor News that detailed the cost overruns associated with the newly constructed presidential home (which EMU always refers to in official documents as the “University House,” as if it is as much my space as it is President Kirkpatrick’s… hmmm…). The article is on the web By following this link (I think there’s a free registration to get it). Let me just quote a bit from it. Here’s the lead:

Eastern Michigan University spent at least $5.1 million to build, furnish and landscape a new home for its president, a figure that is $1.6 million more than publicly disclosed.

The increased price tag was compiled by The News from a review of more than 2,000 pages of university records obtained under the state’s Freedom of Information Act.

Here’s a good summary a few paragraphs down from the lead– some of this might be hard to understand to those who might be reading this and who are unfamiliar with what’s been going on at EMU, but you get the idea:

In its review, The News also found that:

* EMU did not get bids for construction. Instead, it sought general proposals from builders for a much smaller, 6,500-square-foot project costing $1.5 million to $2 million. After a builder was picked, the size grew and the budgeted cost of the building and furnishings rose to $3.5 million. The budget for the home was drawn up by the builder, who received 10 percent of the construction costs as profit and 8.5 percent for administrative expenses.

* The contract with Menard Builders of Plymouth, the general contractor, was signed five months after construction began.

* Kirkpatrick, in an interview last week, distanced himself from the house, saying he did not make the decision to build it. Yet records show that he and his wife, Pamela, made many detailed decisions.

* The Kirkpatricks charged $34,465 worth of home furnishings to university credit cards issued for house-related purchases.

* The president and his wife requested 22 of the building’s 141 change orders, many near the end of the project. Their change orders totaled $130,000.

* University officials told regents that EMU made a gross capital gain of $97,100 on the sale of the Pittsfield Township home where the Kirkpatricks lived while the new house was being built. But records show EMU lost $19,612 when real estate commission, interest and permanent improvements at the house are included.

Ought to make for some interesting conversation around campus tomorrow, huh?

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