Board of Trustees provides construction updates, welcomes new members

The Board of Trustees welcomed three new members to its table at the inaugural meeting in the newly opened Griffin Center Thursday afternoon.

Current Student Government Association President, Ashley Wright, gave her first presentation at the table in which she noted her readiness for her new role in the upcoming school year.

“I am interested in what opportunities present themselves so that we can help the betterment of the university,” Wright said.

Ellis S. Redd, an Evansville native, also joined the board as its newest trustee. Redd was appointed by Governor Mike Pence and currently serves as vice president of human resources and administration for Vectren.

Assistant Professor of Political Science and Public Administration Nicholas LaRowe joined on as the representative for Faculty Senate. He is also the coordinator for the pre-law program.

The meeting included an update on multiple construction projects, including the $800,000 addition of Chick-fil-A and Steak ‘n Shake to the University Center.

Jim Wolfe, director of facilities operation and planning for the university said both of those additions are on schedule.

Wolfe said some projects, including the renovation of Saletta, Welsh and Marshall Buildings must be completed before school begins August 22.

“Knock on wood, they are all currently ahead of schedule,” he said.

February 2017 is estimated to mark the groundbreaking of the Physical Activities Center renovations.

Construction will convert 500 feet of PAC 200 into a kinesiology lab suite and add a 4,000 seat arena to the west side of the PAC.

The first phase is the $16 million addition, but Steve Bridges said there will be a second phase for which a budget has not been decided.

“There will be an additional investment,” the vice president for finance and administration said. “We haven’t really gotten to that aspect of the budget at this point.”

Original funding came from 2013 Indiana General Assembly Appropriation and Bridges said additional funding will also be requested from the state for phase two.

The meeting discussed student fees including the student activity fee which was raised from $50 to $100.

SGA passed a resolution toward the end of the spring semester which stated that the current $50 fee was no longer adequate for all of the areas funded by it.

The passed resolution was then presented to the Board of Trustees over the summer.

“Originally I debated the doubling of the fee,” Bridges said, “but in looking at what (SGA) wanted to accomplish and looking at what other universities are charging, it made sense to me to do so.”

The next Board of Trustees meeting will take place Sept. 1.