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Highlights of Ohio University Board of Trustees Meeting

ATHENS, Ohio (April 20, 2007) -- The Ohio University Board of Trustees met today and approved several facilities improvement projects totaling $16.2 million across the university's six campuses. Highlights include spending:

  • $12.7 million for basic renovations on the Athens campus, including a $7.2 million addition to Porter Hall that would be completed by fall 2008. This project will add 26,000 square feet of laboratories for the departments of Psychology and Plant Biology. It also will include the demolition of Anderson Hall and the construction of a roadway connecting Richland Avenue to Oxbow Trail in order to provide easier access to Baker University Center.
  • $1.7 million for renovation of Athens classrooms and the construction of a Faculty Commons on the third floor of Alden Library.
  • $1.8 million for improvements on the Eastern, Lancaster, Chillicothe, Southern and Zanesville campuses.

The board also voted to change the status of the George V. Voinovich Center for Leadership and Public Affairs to the George V. Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs, effective immediately.

The center has served as a model for involving students and faculty across disciplines in service, learning and research. School status will help recruit and retain high-quality faculty and students, especially those with an applied-research orientation, as well as create more funding opportunities, foster interdisciplinary activities and better blend the center's work into existing curriculum and degree programs.

The trustees also discussed the budget-planning scenario for the upcoming fiscal year. The plan includes increases for faculty and staff compensation and earmarks an additional $1.5 million for information technology. The board asked the administration to reallocate funds in order to boost IT funding, citing a recent consultant's report that recommends an additional $7 million to $10 million over a five-year period. Ohio University currently spends about $12 million per year on its central IT infrastructure. The administration will present the board with its final budget recommendation at the June 29 meeting.

In addition, the board:

  • Ratified a new three-year contract with Ohio Council 8, Local 1699 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, which represents some 670 skilled trades and service employees on the Athens, Chillicothe and Zanesville campuses.
  • Reviewed data showing a 36 percent decrease in student disciplinary cases related to alcohol. In the fall quarter, alcohol-related cases fell from 996 last year to 639, while cases involving other drugs increased from 102 to 166.
  • Granted emeritus or emerita titles to 36 retiring faculty members.
  • Approved faculty fellowships for 36 faculty members; these paid leaves provide time to work on research, scholarly and creative activities.
  • Accepted program reviews for the School of Physical Therapy and the departments of Civil, Mechanical and Industrial/Systems Engineering.
  • Named the building that houses the university's learning center in Proctorville, Ohio, Greg Smith Hall in honor of the late son of the man who donated the land for the center, Marshall Smith.
  • Appointed Chillicothe resident Mark H. Shuter to the Regional Coordinating Council, a community advisory board for the Chillicothe Campus. Shuter is president of Adena Health System.
  • Approved honorary degrees for five individuals: Nigerian senator Ken Nnamani, actress Julie Harris, president and founder of the University of Cambodia Kao Kim Hourn, president of Bangkok University Thanu Kulacholm and president of Hocking College John Light.

The board's next regular meeting is scheduled for June 29 in Athens. Topics are expected to include establishing the 2007-08 budget and reviewing a 10-year capital spending plan.

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Media Contacts: Joseph Brennan, 740-591-8735, or Sally Linder, 740-591-7873

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