Board Talks Park Place, Search For New President

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One day after Ohio University President Roderick McDavis announced he was stepping down, the Board of Trustees set into motion future projects for the university, including the selection of a new leader.

The first step in bringing in a search committee for president was a changing of the guard. Board Chair Sandra Anderson announced at the beginning of the meeting that Friday’s gathering would be her last as chairman. The Governance Committee voted to appoint Trustee David Wolfort as the next chairman of the board, and Janetta King as the vice-chair.

Anderson said Wolfort, King and trustees Dave School and N. Victor Goodman will serve on the Executive Committee, which will begin the process of putting together a presidential search committee.

The Executive Committee also asked Anderson to join them in assisting with the search after her term as chair has ended.

“Between now and June, we will be meeting as needed to put flesh on bones,” Anderson said, adding that they hope to have the search underway by July so that a candidate can potentially be chosen by the time McDavis leaves in June 2017.

In discussions about the search committee that officials hope to be formed by June of this year, the committee recommended a committee of 21 people. Terry MacTaggart, who led reviews of McDavis, was also named as someone who will help with the search.

The search will include input from both trustees, university personnel and the community, Anderson said.

The next president won’t, however, have a home on Park Place, based on decisions made by the board.

After the approval of the framework of the Comprehensive Master Plan was approved, Anderson said the board met in executive session to continue discussions of the Park Place Corridor, including the former president’s residence.

“29 Park Place will be preserved and upgraded,” Anderson said. “It will not be used for presidential housing.”

Park Place has been previously listed as a possible student space in maps for the comprehensive master plan, but Anderson said no decisions have been made as to what the building will become. The board also has not made any decisions on where the president’s residence will be located.

“We haven’t come to an agreement on that yet,” the chairman said.

McDavis is currently in a leased home on Coventry Lane that was acquired by the OU Foundation in March 2015.

The Comprehensive Master Plan discussions will now focus on a six-year plan for specific projects, which University Planner Shawna Bolin discussed at Thursday’s Joint Academic and Resources Committee. Clippinger Hall’s renovation and improvements to Seigfred and Ellis halls are all the first priorities for the six-year plan, according to Bolin.

The capital improvement plan for the six-year plan will be presented at the June board meeting for approval.