Board of Trustees approves funding requests

Rachel Christian

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The Physical Activities Center is the second oldest building on campus.

It hasn’t received many renovations in the 40 years since it was built, said Mark Rozewski, vice president for finance and administration.

“It’s due for a major makeover,” he said. “It’s extremely outdated.”

The project, which the university received funds for last year through a state appropriation, will cost $16 million.

The Board of Trustees approved a long list of funding items Sept. 4, including plans for renovations to the PAC.

PAC to receive long awaited facelift

“We have already been awarded the $16 million for the PAC,” Vice President for Government and University Relations Cindy Brinker said at the Board of Trustees meeting. “We are waiting to use it because we are still in the planning stage.”

The Physical Plant scheduled a meeting for Monday to determine the scope of the renovations.

From there, the university will select the architecture and engineering firm for the project and construction bids will go out next fall.

“The renovations for the PAC are definitely needed,” said Maggie Roe, an instructor in the Kinesiology and Sport Department.

Roe said she’d like to see a number of changes happen during the renovations. She works closely with the human performance lab in the Health Professions Center, and would like to see it relocated to the PAC, where there would be more space to perform testing.

She would also like to see a gym or a room with fitness equipment added in the PAC specifically for the Kinesiology and Sport Department’s use.

“Being able to show the proper techniques and have students work with clients in our own facilities would be a great opportunity,” Roe said.

There are other facility issues Roe hopes the renovation project will fix, such as restrooms on every floor and adequate temperature control in the classrooms.

“For the most part, what we need is more usable space for us to provide programs and classes that will help our students,” Roe said.

The $16 million will go toward expanding the arena to accommodate larger commencement ceremonies, said Jim Wolfe, director of facilities operations and planning.

There are also plans to renovate offices, classrooms and the pool’s mechanical system.

USI hopes to contribute funds to med school construction

The Board of Trustees approved a $7.3 million budget request for help with the construction costs of the Academic Health Science and Research Center planned for downtown Evansville.

Since 1994, the Indiana University School of Medicine – Evansville has occupied the third floor of the Health Professions Center on USI’s campus. But in April, the IU Board of Trustees voted to move the med school to a new location downtown.

The two-building complex will co-locate various health science programs from USI, the med school, Ivy Tech and the University of Evansville.

The $7.3 million will fund the construction of 26,000 gross square feet in the facility.

The new complex is estimated to be complete by late 2017. When it is, the third floor of the Health Professions Center will become vacant.

The Board also approved a request for $8 million to renovate and expand the third floor. The plan is to use the space to expand nursing and health science related classes, which are currently operating at full capacity.

There are plans to add 4,000 gross square feet to the floor by enclosing four corner balconies.

Rozewski said the $8 million will go toward preparing the third floor for regular USI classrooms.

“There’s a lot of things the IU med school has up there that we don’t need,” Rozewski said. “So there’s going to be some major changes in the floor plan and that sort of thing.”

He said some details of the renovation are still unclear, since construction won’t begin until 2018 or 2019.

Housing, meal plan rates on the rise

Students can expect to see a slight increase in housing and meal plan rates come next year.

The Board passed a 3 percent increase for both campus apartments and residence halls. The new rates are set to go into effect July 1.

Students living at O’Daniel or McDonald apartments can expect an increase of $111, and $75 if they have a roommate, while students living in residence halls will see a $62 increase.

Students who live in housing will have $50 in Munch Money added to their housing rates to use.

The Board also approved a measure to raise Red, White and Blue meal plans by $62, for a new total of $1,956. The new meal plan rate constitutes “normal increases in food and labor costs,” according to the meeting’s agenda.

Dylan Negron, an undecided freshman, said he doesn’t see a problem with the rate increases.

“If the meal plans and prices of housing are only going up by 3 percent,” he said. “I don’t think it’s that bad.”

State to decide on over $3 million for general repairs

The Board also approved a request for nearly $3.5 million for general repairs and infrastructure to maintain existing campus facilities.

The State provides a general repairs and infrastructure appropriation every year so the university can stay up to date on maintenance, Rozewski said.

The proposal now moves to the Indiana Commission for Higher Education and the Indiana State Budget Agency for approval.

Brinker said the university won’t know if the requests for state funds are approved until the end of Indiana’s legislative budget session next April.