Home Education Scholarships, construction tops the agenda for the Board of Trustees meeting

Scholarships, construction tops the agenda for the Board of Trustees meeting

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With no relatively controversial topics being voted on during today’s meeting, the Board of Trustees will do what they do best: move money around for projects and scholarships.

The new scholarships benefit the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, with $3 million being used for the Student Scholarship Fund and $2 million for the Research Scholarly Advancement Support Fund. These scholarships will be funded by “quasi-endowments,” or funds from the Ohio University Foundation acting as endowments, according to the meeting’s agenda. This is to offset the college’s yearly tuition increase of 5 percent.

Members are expected to vote on approving multiple construction projects that are planned for the Athens campus as well as OU’s regional campuses. This notably includes renovating Jefferson Market with a “‘Whole Foods Store’ concept” in mind. The board will be voting to increase the projected budget from $1.1 million to $2.16 million, taking out of the $44 million used to renovate Jefferson Hall.

They will also vote on continuing plans of other construction projects. These projects include: renovation and addition of space to the Computer Services Center and Copeland Hall (increasing the projected budget from $3 million to $3.46 million), replacing the seats in the Convocation Center (projected budget of $2.85 million), renovation and addition to McCracken Hall (increasing the projected budget from $31,896,800 to $32,798,000) and building a permanent boiler at the Lausche Power Plant (projected budget of $4 million).

The BoT will also discuss the construction of two centralized buildings for all auxiliary services. The buildings, which are projected to cost $16.7 million, will “create operational synergies and efficiencies by co-locating Printing Services, Mail Services, Central Receiving, new university storage and a new surplus store.” Currently, the services are divided among multiple buildings at The Ridges as well as at the West Union Street Office Center.

A resolution will be presented to extend Rufus Street (formerly South Green Drive) along the university-owned River Park apartments. This will be done to give residents of the apartments easier access to main roads such as McKinley Avenue and Mill Street.

President Roderick McDavis is set to present many updates during the President’s Report part of the meeting. Included is the current update on The Promise Lives Campaign, which has currently fundraised $481.03 million. He will also highlight a study done by the Inter-University Council of Ohio and The College Board that shows that not only have Ohio public universities’ tuition rates “have grown more slowly than the national rate of inflation” but also that Ohio is the only state that experienced a negative growth in tuition rates.

The board was supposed to vote on razing the Presidential Street Academic Center in order to use the space for the College of Business expansion. However, “due to unforeseen site conditions that have negatively impacted the project budget,” according to university spokesperson **Katie Quaranta, the proposal was scrapped from the agenda. The proposed demolition of the building, which is on the National Register of Historical Spaces, has been controversial, with many urging the university to reconsider.

In response to the meeting, Ohio University Student Union will be hosting a mock Board of Trustees meeting at 5 p.m. in Bentley Hall 233. The “sketch-mock show” called “The Board: A Dark Comedy with Pizza”, will take a satirical look at the BoT while being critical of their recent actions.

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