Renovation projects get green light from trustees

The BGSU Board of Trustees on Friday (May 2) approved a $4 million renovation of the Ice Arena, replacement of roofs on six other campus buildings and construction of a central chiller plant that will serve several buildings.

The trustees also heard presentations from leaders of BGSU arts programs, supporting the proposed designation of the arts as one of the University’s “centers of excellence”—which each Ohio public university must now identify to meet a state mandate—and from the co-chairs of the University Strategic Planning Group, who provided an update on that process.

The Ice Arena renovation is intended to address a series of issues, including repair of the building envelope—internal and external—and the roof, wall damage from leaking, gutter replacement, insulation and other humidity remediation efforts, as well as replacement of ice-making equipment. “A variety of additional facility enhancements could be added to the project scope, but only if private fund-raising efforts in the athletic department are successful,” noted Sherideen Stoll, CFO and vice president for finance and administration.

“Aside from the addition of north-end seats in 1990 and space for the hockey coaching staff in 2000, the arena has had no major renovations in its 41-year history,” she said. Construction is scheduled to begin next February.

Roof replacement is planned this summer and early fall, at an estimated cost of about $1.3 million, for Overman Hall, the second floor of Jerome Library, the Health Center, Life Sciences Building, Technology Building and the third floor of the Administration Building.

Financing for the Ice Arena and roof replacement projects will be provided by accessing short-term, tax-exempt debt through a traditional bank, with the intention of rolling the debt into a bond issue sometime in the fall or early winter of 2009. In addition to those projects, funds were approved for flooding abatement in Williams Hall ($150,000) and renovations/rehabilitation of several academic and related support spaces ($550,000).

The central chiller plant approved by the trustees will provide cooling to the Fine Arts Center, Moore Musical Arts Center, the Health Center and, eventually, the planned Wolfe Center for the Arts. Paying for the project will be $3,160,800 in state capital project funds and another $1 million in state basic renovation funds. The 6,000-square-foot plant will be located next to the Fine Arts Center, with construction expected to begin in June 2009.

Opening the arts presentation to the trustees, Provost Shirley Baugher noted that four transdisciplinary themes have been selected as potential BGSU centers of excellence. In addition to the arts—an area, she said, unanimously supported by University deans—they are: educator preparation with emphasis on school and community engagement; health and wellness across the lifespan, and leading, managing and creating effective organizations. A steering committee chaired by Dr. Milt Hakel, Ohio Eminent Scholar in psychology, will evaluate the four areas and make recommendations in the fall about which should be forwarded to Ohio Board of Regents Chancellor Eric Fingerhut as the University’s designated centers.

Making the case for the arts to the trustees were Dr. Richard Kennell, dean of the College of Musical Arts; Dr. Katerina Ruedi Ray, director of the School of Art, and Dr. Ronald Shields, chair of the Department of Theatre and Film. They focused on the campus arts synergy that has produced, among other things, the Arts Village residential learning community and the Arts Extravaganza, a multi-arts celebration each December; community engagement and societal impact of the arts at BGSU, and arts leadership and scholarship on campus.

Ray discussed the recent BGSU-led study that showed the arts create $2.4 billion annually for the regional economy. “This is the kind of message that northwest Ohio needs to hear,” she said, calling the results “truly stunning.” She pointed out that not only do the arts engage their consumers’ heads, hands and hearts, but “the arts also engage the wallet.”

On the strategic planning front, “Change Team” co-chairs Mel Hudson-Nowak, director of internal auditing and advisory services, and Dr. William Mathis, chair of music performance studies, told the trustees that development of an initial draft is under way. The University community will be engaged in the fall for development of a second draft, they reported, adding that the final strategic plan must be presented to President Sidney Ribeau by the end of December. Implementation of the 10-year plan is to begin next spring.

More information will be forthcoming this summer, they said, and is available online at  

On other matters Friday, the trustees:

• Approved a new policy on the authorization and award of capital construction projects. Under terms of the policy, all proposed new construction, renovations and alterations to the University’s physical plant—excluding maintenance and repairs—must be approved prior to the beginning of planning, design or construction activities. The trustees must approve projects with an estimated total cost of more than $500,000 for planning, design and construction; projects less than that are to be approved by the vice president for finance and administration.

• Approved a number of changes to the Student Handbook, a brief change to the Classified Staff Handbook and a policy for administrative staff ombudspersons. Administrative Staff Council developed the policy, which deals with volunteer administrative staff members trained to work with their colleagues as impartial dispute-resolution practitioners. The goal is to provide an internal means of resolving administrative staff workplace issues.

• Heard an update on the Building Dreams capital campaign from Trustee Robert Sebo, who reported that the campaign has now raised more than $131 million. The creation of 475 new scholarships through the campaign has more than doubled the number of scholarships available at BGSU, he added.

• Approved fees for study-abroad programs for the 2009-10 academic year, so students interested in international study may begin planning now.

May 5, 2008