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Board of Trustees approves naming of Gladys W. and David H. Patton Hall, addition of regional trustee

Published: October 7, 2021 Author: Staff reports

The Ohio University Board of Trustees changed the name of an academic building in honor of the Patton family during its October meetings on the Athens Campus.

The Board also added a regional trustee position to its membership, which will bring an important voice representing the areas around OHIO’s regional campuses and strengthen the ties Ohio University has with those communities.

The Board held its committee meetings and its main meeting on Thursday. The Board will meet again from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Friday, Oct. 8, for a Board retreat in the active learning classroom on the first floor of Heritage Hall.

Key actions by the Board included:

Building renaming

The Board approved a resolution to rename the home of the Gladys W. and David H. Patton College of Education from its current name, McCracken Hall, to Gladys W. and David H. Patton Hall.

The Patton College was named in honor of Dr. Violet L. Patton’s philanthropic commitments to the college in 2010. Violet Patton committed $13.3 million that year to establish the Violet L. Patton Center for Arts Education, and an additional $28 million to honor her parents, Gladys W. and David H. Patton, with the naming of the college. She committed an additional $22 million in 2019 to support the capital projects for which she has demonstrated unwavering commitment and passion over the past decade.

The current McCracken Hall was approved for renovation in 2015, a project made possible in large part by Violet Patton’s generosity. The building was previously named in 1963 for Dr. Thomas Cook McCracken, former dean of the College of Education and OHIO’s first provost. Suitable interior space will be identified and named in honor of McCracken at a future date.

Regional trustee proposal

The Board amended its bylaws to add a non-voting regional trustee to its membership, in appreciation for and recognition of the valuable contributions and insights to be gained from adding the regional representative.

The Board appointed Misty Crosby, executive director of Buckeye Hills Regional Council in Marietta, to the position.

Ohio University President Hugh Sherman proposed the addition of the seat during the Board’s meeting in August.

Portfolio reduction strategy

The Board approved the next implementation actions of OHIO’s portfolio reduction strategy. Trustees declared certain real properties as surplus and allowed them to be included on a forthcoming Land Conveyance Bill. While a Land Conveyance Bill authorizes the sale of real property within the three-year period after its passage, it does not require the sale should an alternate course of action ultimately be chosen. The properties identified for divestment were selected after review of several key factors such as utilization, property location, alignment with University strategic needs, and financial impact. 

The properties include:

  • Lasher Hall
  • Central Classroom Building
  • Haning Hall
  • Crewson House
  • 31 S. Court St.
  • Hebbardsville Farm (partial)
  • The Ridges (only buildings currently designated for external use)
  • Black Farm Horse Park (Chillicothe Campus)
  • Ohio Horse Park (Southern Campus)
  • Dysart Woods (Eastern Campus)
  • Pickerington Center (Lancaster Campus)
  • Four acres on Lancaster Campus
  • Campus and Community Center (Southern Campus)

Different courses of action will be pursued for each of the properties. In some cases, attempts will first be made to lease the properties. In others, only portions of the properties identified will be considered for sale. In a few instances, the University has already been approached by potential buyers of the land in question. And in many cases, any sale would include deed restrictions necessary to ensure that property uses are compatible with the mission and strategy of the University.

The discussion also included a timeline for efforts related to property on The Ridges designated for external use, as well as the demolition of Scott Quad.

Scott Quad is currently not in use, but the site is considered valuable for the University’s future programmatic needs. The facility has been designated for demolition after a significant review of safety issues, deferred maintenance issues, accessibility, and programmatic alignment.

Capital projects

The Board approved a number of capital projects. They are:

  • Convocation Center electrical, heating and air conditioning, and fire system improvements: This project, budgeted at about $15.3 million, will implement a phased replacement of major building systems to extend their useful life. This includes upgrades to elevator, fire protection, fire alarm, electrical and HVAC systems.
  • Gamertsfelder Hall restroom and HVAC renovation: This project, budgeted at $10.75 million, will replace failing plumbing systems, install upgraded HVAC systems to alleviate moisture issues, and upgrade aesthetics in the restrooms in the building.
  • Scott Quad demolition: This project, budgeted at $3.6 million, is for demolition of Scott Quad, which has significant deferred maintenance issues including roof and window replacement needs.
  • Ridges Building 33 voltage transition: This project, budgeted at $1.65 million, will transition the existing 2,400-volt electrical system, which is outdated and for which parts are no longer available, to a modern, more reliable 12,470-volt system.
  • Bromley Hall building-based heating system: This project, budgeted at $600,000, will transition Bromley to a building-based heating system.
  • Ridges Building 33 deaerator replacement: This project, budgeted at $530,000, will replace the existing deaerator and study the feasibility of transitioning each building served steam by Building 33 to a building-based heating system.

Research strategy update

Executive Vice President and Provost Elizabeth Sayrs and Vice President for Research and Creative Activity Joseph Shields provided an update on Ohio University’s research strategy. Research and creative activity are integral to OHIO’s mission, and the presentation focused on the strategy for positioning the University for future success in this area while ensuring alignment with our academic mission.

Enrollment update

Vice President for Enrollment Management Candace Boeninger provided a preliminary update on Ohio University’s enrollment based on the census data collected as of Sept. 6, the date used for federal reporting. The update included a number of enrollment highlights, including an incoming first-year student enrollment rebound to 3,664 students, a 17 percent increase from Fall 2020. This included gains in resident and non-resident populations and surpassed projections.

The presentation included a discussion of future enrollment priorities.

In other business, the Board:

  • Approved a voluntary separation or retirement plan for eligible tenure-track faculty members and administrative staff with academic rank of tenured professor or tenured associate professor. This one-time plan will be offered on or about Jan. 17, 2022.
  • Received an update on the University’s Annual Security Report and Annual Fire Safety Report. The reports include data for calendar years 2018, 2019 and 2020.
  • Received a community standards update, including the annual four-year comparison of conduct cases and four-year comparison of conduct offenses.
  • Accepted a gift of real property, a 289-acre parcel known as the Baker Preserve, from the daughters of Ohio University President Emeritus John C. Baker. The land was originally purchased by President Baker in the 1950s and inherited by his daughters in 2001. About 269 acres of the property are under a conservation easement with The Athens Conservancy, and the rest will be put under a conservation easement before it is transferred. The Athens Conservancy will continue to manage the property. The transfer is contingent upon the approval of the Ohio Public Works Commission.
  • Accepted the 2021-22 review of centers and institutes.
  • Provisionally approved the financial statements as presented by management of the University, Foundation, and subsidiaries for the year ending June 30, 2021.
  • Received a financial update, including an update on the FY22 budget and updates on the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Approved a fee schedule for several graduate programs in the College of Business and the College of Health Sciences and Professions.
  • Agreed to rename and broaden the purpose of a quasi-endowment in the College of Arts and Sciences to support a broader range of scholarly and creative activities, including research projects by faculty and graduate students across the college.
  • Heard Faculty Senate’s annual presentation to the Board.
  • Reviewed and discussed a new Ohio Revised Code section regarding electronic attendance of Board of Trustees meetings, which took effect Sept. 30.

The full Board of Trustees agenda is available at https://www.ohio.edu/trustees.