The Ohio University Board of Trustees received an update on the implementation of the One OHIO strategy during meetings at OHIO’s Russ Innovation Center in Beavercreek, Ohio.
The Board also received updates on the impact of the state biennial budget, the University’s efforts to prevent sexual misconduct, and capital projects during Monday’s meetings.
One OHIO Update
Executive Vice President and Provost Chaden Djalali, Interim Executive Dean for Regional Higher Education Nicole Pennington and Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer Brad Cohen provided an update on the implementation of this initiative that will integrate the University’s multi-campus operation. They shared details of how the integration process is actively underway and how multiple work streams involving faculty, staff and leadership from across the institution have defined milestones and measurable outcomes.
Since the Board endorsed the One OHIO concept at the March 2019 meeting, the University has continued planning efforts, begun transitioning into implementation, taken necessary steps to strengthen the connections between all of OHIO’s functions and campuses, and begun breaking down internal barriers to the innovation necessary to make supporting critical changes.
State Biennial Budget Impact
Senior Vice President Finance and Administration Deb Shaffer reviewed the state biennial budget and its impact on OHIO. The final state operating budget authorized a 2% increase in the FY20 State Share of Instruction (SSI), followed by a 1% increase in FY21.The Board-approved budget for FY20 already included an assumption that the state would increase SSI by 1%. The final state budget is projected to provide the University with approximately $1.7M in unbudgeted revenues. Shaffer also provided a multi-year outlook for SSI, including how declining enrollments are projected to impact Ohio University’s share of SSI in future years.
Trustees heard an update on state line item appropriations impacting Ohio University. The FY20-21 biennial operating budget includes significant state investment in programs unique to OHIO, including the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs’ Appalachian New Economy Partnership, Academy for Excellence in Public Service, and Rural University Program; the Heritage College of Medicine’s AHEC Program support, Family Practice, Geriatric Medicine, Primary Care Residencies and OHIO clinical training; and Library depositories. In total, the final FY20 state line item appropriations provide an additional $3.3 million for specific investment in the associated programs.
Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Support
Vice President for Student Affairs Jason Pina with colleagues from Student Affairs, Diversity & Inclusion and Academic Affairs presented Trustees with research that shows college-aged individuals are at the highest risk of experiencing sexual and gender-based violence, and that nationally 20 to 25 percent of college women and 15 percent of college men will experience rape or attempted rape in their college careers. Their presentation provided insight into the University’s progress and current efforts to address sexual misconduct through prevention and support.
The presentation group shared examples of OHIO’s efforts to prevent sexual assault, including the Survivor Advocacy Program, Bystander Intervention Training, an employee online education manual, and a sexual assault resource collaborative. They said a collaborative approach to prevent and address this issue can be done within the campus and community.
29 Park Place and Carriage House renovations
The Board approved the addition of $1.2 million to the project cost of the renovation and ADA improvements project at 29 Park Place and the Carriage House on the property. The increase would bring the overall cost to $3.5 million.
The addition is necessary due to several factors:
- An increase in material costs due to current market conditions, an increase in the overall cost due to the strength of the economy, and unforeseen costs due to utility and code requirements to convert the building from residential occupancy to business use.
- An increase in the OHIO Honors Program cohort from 300 to 425, with a projected continued increase, which requires additional staff and need for accessible space.
- The schedule is also a factor, as the Park Place project is a critical first domino for a series of interrelated projects connected to the Russ College of Engineering and Technology renovation of the West Union Street Office Center. Current occupants of Trisolini House will move into 29 Park Place, and Culinary Services will move from the West Union Street Office Center into Trisolini. Delays in either project could result in a delay of the Russ Research Opportunity Center project.
The Board approved a resolution for the following five construction projects:
- Stocker Roof Replacement: This project, with a budget of $3.3 million, will address deferred maintenance by replacing the clay tile roof on Stocker Center. The construction is set to take place in FY21- FY22.
- Porter and Lindley Halls window replacement: This project, with a budget of $2.8 million, will address the deferred maintenance and energy efficiency needs by replacing 337 windows in Porter Hall and 306 windows in Lindley Hall. Work will also include removal of lead paint and asbestos glazing in the materials around the windows. The project is still pending Ohio Air Quality Development Authority (OAQDA) approval. In the event the project doesn’t qualify, funding will be swapped with a qualifying energy project. The construction is set to take place in the end of FY20 going into FY21.
- Alden Library air handlers 3 and 4 replacement: This project, with a budget of $1 million, will replace air handlers 3 and 4 in Alden Library, enabling better control of humidity and temperature for proper storage of library equipment and print media as well as adequate occupant comfort. The construction is set to begin in late FY20 and wrap in FY21.
- Campus steam system repairs: This project, with a budget of $750,000, will address steam distribution and tunnel improvements for the Athens Campus steam system. Work for this project will be coordinated with the summer campus steam outage to minimize impact. The construction is set to begin in late FY20 and wrap in FY21.
- Morton chilled water connection: This project, with a budget of $610,000, will connect Morton Hall to the University’s chilled water loop. New supply and return lines will be extended from the existing chilled water lines into Morton Hall to connect to the existing building cooling system. The construction is set to begin in late FY20 and wrap in FY21.
Designation of Cambridge Center as Surplus Property
The Board approved a resolution to designate the Cambridge Center, a University-owned classroom space in Cambridge, Ohio, that has struggled to remain occupied, to be designated as surplus and placed for sale.
The property was purchased in 2013 in Cambridge to be used as classroom space. It is located on 0.68 acres of land and consists of a 7,500-square-foot building and a 539-square-foot brick garage. The space is vacant and has been deemed not viable from a financial perspective.
Consistent with the goals of the One OHIO initiative and to improve efficiencies within the regional higher education system, the administration recommended that the property be sold. If approved by the Board, OHIO officials will work with the Ohio Department of Administrative Services to sell the property.
In other business, the Board:
- Approved a resolution to change the easement renewal process, delegating authority to execute existing easement renewals to the Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration. The change only applies to easement renewals, which previously have required Board of Trustees approval. There are more than 40 such easements pending renewal in Fiscal year 2020. The Board will continue to approve all new, non-capital project related easements.
- Gave retroactive approval for three easements related to ongoing capital projects that were inadvertently left out of resolutions passed in January, March and June of 2019.
- Approved the annual Affordability and Efficiency Report, which will be presented to the Ohio Department of Higher Education. The report details cost savings and revenue-generating initiatives, as well as academic policy and process improvements.
- Received an update on OHIO’s accreditation process. The University is in the process of switching to the Open Pathway accreditation model after it was notified by the Higher Learning Commission that the Academic Quality Improvement Program Pathway was being phased out. The update included feedback the University received from the Higher Learning Commission, such as how OHIO’s System Portfolio was accepted with no interim monitoring or institutional response required and how OHIO received a rating of “Strong, clear and well presented” on 18 of 21 core Accreditation requirements.
- Received an update on the timeline to issue the next tranche of tax-exempt debt in support of the board-approved capital improvement plan, as well as an update on the transition to Fund Evaluation Group as the investment advisor to Ohio University and the Ohio University Foundation.
The full agenda for the August Board of Trustees meeting can be found on the Trustees’ website.