Steven Leath

Auburn University President Steven Leath

Enrollment at Auburn University is high, as is the standard of being accepted into the school, according to university president Steven Leath.

“The demand for an Auburn education is the highest it’s been in maybe ever,” Leath said Friday. “Applications were up 21 percent just this year, which is an incredible increase in applications.

“Our enrollment is 30,440, which I believe is the largest we’ve ever been,” he continued. “This is with really, really strict standards, where kids are having to achieve more to get in. With that application surge, that’s where we ended up.”

The president’s remarks came during a board of trustees meeting at the Hotel at Auburn University and Dixon Conference Center on Friday morning. He told the trustees that Auburn welcomed roughly 4,800 freshmen to campus this semester, with nearly 60 percent of the freshman class consisting of students from the state of Alabama.

Leath attributed part of the reason enrollment is up to upper class retention numbers, adding that the school didn’t admit more freshmen than usual this year.

“Another thing we saw is, we actually have a fair bit larger number of employees now enrolled at Auburn, which is kind of neat, because we have employees who are able to finish their college degree while working for us,” he said. “I think that’s something we can all really, really be proud of.”

Project approvals

The trustees also granted final project approval to the Poultry Farm Unit Relocation Phase III-VI project, which will help move the farm unit from the Auburn University Research Park to the North Auburn Campus.

The project is expected to be executed between November 2018 and August 2020, with a $22 million estimated price tag. It will be paid for with a combination of College of Agriculture funds, gifts, and University General Funds/bond proceeds, according to an executive summary.

The board also gave the green light to a final project approval for phase I of suite renovations at Jordan-Hare Stadium. The estimated $4.5 million project entails providing fans in the third- and fourth-level East suites with “new operable windows and fans to allow better access to the sounds and general atmosphere of the game,” according to an executive summary of the project.

The project will be paid for using Athletics Department funds.

Other items

The board also:

>> approved Auburn University’s $1.349 billion budget for the 2019 fiscal year;

>> approved a $2 million budget increase for the Band Building Phase III project, establishing a total project cost of $7.5 million;

>> approved the purchase of the Whitten Property, a 1-acre residential property at 102 Kimberly Drive in Auburn. The property is adjacent to the university-owned Sunny Slope property on South College Street, and there is no immediate plan to develop the property for an existing use, according to meeting documents.

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