Board of Trustees Discusses Funding For Master Plan, Specific Projects

Posted on:

< < Back to

The Comprehensive Master Plan is in its last stages before coming up for approval by the Ohio University Board of Trustees, and now the discussion has turned to funding.

The plan, which has been formulated over the course of two years, includes improvements to old buildings, construction of new buildings, new usage for The Ridges complex and the redesign of greens on campus.

University Planner Shawna Bolin told the board the plan comes after 10,000 documented hours of work and more than 500 people’s input, but the final product won’t appear immediately.

“We’re asking (the board) to approve this guiding framework, not the projects we’ve discussed,” Bolin said.

With the comprehensive plan working its way toward approval, the focus moves to a capital improvement plan to pay for the changes to the campus, and other sources of funding that can be used for the projects.

In June, Bolin said she will bring the board a resolution for fiscal year 2017-2018 to approve funding for three different projects, the biggest of which would be a Clippinger Hall renovation.

“The first phase would be an 80,000 square-foot addition,” Bolin told the board.

The current estimated cost of the renovation is $42.6 million, but that number will likely be “refined” before the board sees the resolution in June, according to Bolin.

In future phases, the plan would vacate the current Clippinger space for renovations, and demolish small facilities around the lab. Though the university planner hesitated to give a concrete timeline on the renovation, she said the planning and design phase would take about one year, and construction would last about two years.

The board previously approved an annual capital improvement plan for fiscal year 2016, which included a plan to improve Seigfred Hall’s roof and windows.

For the 2017-2018 fiscal year, Bolin said Seigfred Hall was also on the list for improvements to the mechanical systems and painting and lighting of the interior. The plan would also include relocation of the Interior Architecture program from Grover Center to space in Seigfred.

Several trustees chimed in to ask how planners chose which buildings had priority in the plan, and Vice Chairman of the Trustees David Wolfort questioned the plan, specifically for the art building, where his children were students.

“I ask whether that’s really enough,” Wolfort said. “Are we really refurbishing (Seigfred) at the same rate as other projects?”

Executive Vice President and Provost Pam Benoit said funding decisions were balanced based on program needs and the amount of funding each program receives.

“The issue is how do we prioritize the needs of the program,” Benoit. “There’s no gift funding for Seigfred.”

Funding from outside sources is also not exclusively named for Ohio University, causing a need for prioritization, according to Vice President for Finance and Administration Stephen Golding.

“What we have to be mindful of is we are in competition for these dollars, and that impacts the timing of these projects,” Golding said.

Improvements to Ellis Hall were also on the list for the next fiscal year.