servers or wood and leather?

11/8/2010: We’ve written before about how UO’s VP for Finance and Administration Frances Dyke blew $2.4 million remodeling Johnson Hall back in 2007. This led to a cut of millions per year in federal research money, when UO couldn’t show the feds it was spending enough money on research support to justify what they’d been giving us for grant ICC overhead. We are still paying the price for that particular stupidity.

Now, Greg Bolt of the RG reports UO is moving towards fixing this, with new information services infrastructure:

The project, to be funded through research grant proceeds and general revenue, will upgrade the primary and backup electric and cooling systems, make structural improvements, expand server capacity and improve other utility systems in the building. … Of the $4 million cost, $1.2 million will come from grant funds and $2.8 million from general revenue, which includes tuition revenue. Tuition won’t be raised to cover the cost; reserves the university maintains for such purposes will be tapped, said Frances Dyke, the university’s vice president for finance and administration.

Because of the way ICC calculations work, the return to this expenditure in terms of increased federal research support could be very large. Even larger than spending general tuition funds on refinishing the wood paneling in Johnson Hall and polishing the yellow leather for the jocks.

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