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OHIO Board of Trustees approve capital improvement plan

Trustees also hear guaranteed tuition update

The Ohio University Board of Trustees discussed long-term planning efforts and approved a $970 million, six-year capital improvement plan (CIP) at meetings yesterday and today.

Stephen Golding, vice president for Finance and Administration, presented the updated CIP, which covers fiscal years 2015 through 2020, to the full Board on Thursday. The plan builds on the one approved in 2011 and encompasses all planned construction, infrastructure and information technology projects on the Athens and regional campuses. It also provides a 20-year planning context that anticipates OHIO's capital needs over the next two decades.

The University's academic mission and strategic goals form the foundation of the plan. Golding said that this "smart growth" strategy, which also takes into account the CIP's cumulative financial impact, swing space and staffing requirements, is essential for a transformational initiative of this scope.

The major construction projects – including the Housing Development Plan, a new interdisciplinary science facility, a replacement power plant and major renovations to buildings like Seigfred Hall, Ellis Hall and Alden Library – are primarily funded through debt issuances. The remainder of the funding comes from gifts, grants and internal working capital, with state capital appropriations targeted toward smaller projects that help to reduce the institution's deferred maintenance backlog.

Although Board members approved the entire six-year plan, they will review it on an annual basis in order to evaluate and approve any necessary modifications. This process ensures that the plan can best serve the University's changing needs over time and that the resources are there to cover the capital costs associated with each project.

Executive Vice President and Provost Pam Benoit also gave the Board an update on the progress of the Tuition Guarantee Implementation Team in solidifying the details of the University's guaranteed tuition program. As outlined by the committee, the constant tuition rate will be set for four years, or 12 sequential terms. This includes both in-state and out-of-state undergraduate students in a degree-seeking program on the Athens campus.

A significant task moving forward will be to establish policies and procedures to determine exceptions to the 12-term model. For example, extensions may be granted for students called to active military duty, students enrolled in academic programs that require more than four years to complete and students who withdraw for approved medical reasons.  

The guaranteed tuition program is on track to be completed and in place in time for a fall 2015 launch.  

The next Board meeting will be on Jan. 24, 2014.

In other business, the Board approved:

  •  A resolution to change the rate for a Masters in Education Administration off-campus graduate program to the standard semester rate of $505 per hour and to replace the regional campus graduate tuition table with a simple hourly rate consistent with the rate used in all off-campus graduate programs. Both changes will be effective in spring 2014.

  •  A resolution to approve a priority listing of deferred maintenance projects to submit to the Board of Regents as the University's FY 2015 to FY 2016 state appropriation request.

  •  Resolutions to approve and authorize the University to develop construction documents, receive bids and awards contracts for the Housing Development Plan Phase I construction and upgrades to seven elevators on the Athens campus.

  •  A resolution to award contracts to undertake the schematic design for the Lausche Heating Plant replacement.

  •  A resolution to accept the recommendations of the 2012-2013 Review of Centers and Institutes.

  •  Resolutions to approve offering a Bachelor of Science degree in Energy Engineering by the department of Mechanical Engineering and a Bachelor of Science degree in Technical Operations Management by the department of Engineering Technology and Management. Both degrees are offered through the Fritz J. and Dolores H. Russ College of Engineering and Technology.

  •  A resolution to change the name of the Master of Education in Cultural Studies in Education to the Master of Education in Critical Studies in Educational Foundations.

  •  A resolution to accept the Plante Moran audit of the University for the year ending on June 30.

  •  A resolution to declare 20 Home Street, consisting of 3.259 acres, and 357 East State Street, consisting of 2.07 acres, to be surplus property. The president or his designee is authorized to negotiate, evaluate or otherwise transact the disposition of both properties, consistent with the requirements of Ohio law.