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Thursday, Nov 23, 2017

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OHIO Trustees approve capital improvement projects, receive IT strategic update during October meeting


The Ohio University Board of Trustees approved several capital improvement projects and received OHIO’s Information Technology (IT) strategic update during its meeting Oct. 20 in Walter Hall.

Following the meeting, Board members joined newly-inaugurated Ohio University President M. Duane Nellis in a service project at the Baker University Center Food Pantry. The project was part of Ohio University’s Presidential Investiture Week of Activities.

Capital Improvements

The Board of Trustees approved a resolution to proceed with construction on James Hall for masonry repairs and a dining facility refresh within Shively Hall.

In 2004, James Hall was stabilized for masonry failures as an interim measure until the wall could be rebuilt. This project will remove all unstable material and re-lay masonry to prevent future failures. The project’s total budget is currently approved for $1 million.

Shively Hall’s dining area, last renovated in 2009, will receive an upgrade to the aesthetics and functionality of the space, with residential dining spaces influenced by restaurant, fast-casual, quick-service production and fresh market trends. Some kitchen equipment will also be upgraded. The total project budget is currently set at $1,835,100.

For both projects, the design work will begin in FY18, with construction scheduled for the end of FY18 and beginning of FY19.

The Trustees also approved a pair of easements for American Electric Power. The first, on the Chillicothe Campus, is needed for the Bennett Hall electrical upgrade project and will also include new underground service to Stevenson Hall. The second will allow installation of electric service to a new retail building near University-owned land near 859 E. State St., Athens, which is intended to include Qdoba Mexican Grill and Kay Jewelers.

Additionally, University administration presented an update on facilities projects that are currently in various stages of completion. They also provided informational updates on the Richland Avenue Pedestrian Crossing Project and the Clippinger Laboratories Phase I programming and design direction.

IT Strategic Update

University officials presented an overview of the University’s Information Technology strategic update. This included an overview of key strategy concepts, operations and a projected budget.

The Office of Information Technology has progressed approximately halfway through its long-term plan, and has made extensive improvements to core services like networking and IT security. This has included significant operational improvements, including cost reductions, and led to important improvements in management and leadership.

The next stage includes building a core of critical IT services to expand capability to differentiate and partner for competitive advantage.

Campus Design Review Advisory Council

University officials presented a proposal to create a Campus Design Review Advisory Council. The Council’s purpose would be to provide consistency, leadership, and direction for individual projects and for the campus as a whole. With several major planning initiatives completed that provide a vision and framework for campus development, administrators want to ensure that design decisions are made holistically, within the context of a vision for the campus identity.

The Council would advise the University president on projects that impact the physical environment of the campus. One of the first tasks for the Council would be the development of Campus Design Guidelines, with a focus on architectural design, landscaping, and historic character. This would serve to preserve desired elements, encourage new development that contributes to the campus, provide consistency for each Campus Green, and provide the framework for the Council to recommend decisions.

Other Board Business

In other business, the Board:

  • Received an update of FY17 financial results, which included balance sheet growth from positive FY17 investment performance and the unbudgeted receipt of $18.4M from the WOUC spectrum auction. University leadership also provided a brief summary of initial FY18 financial projections and FY19 budget planning assumptions. The presentation highlighted the impact of enrollments and financial aid on operating forecasts.
  • Approved a resolution that designated several units within the University as health care components subject to compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. The units are: Ohio University Therapy Associates; University Human Resources/Benefits (including the University Wellness Plans); Psychology and Social Work Clinic; Office of Legal Affairs; Information Technology; and Library Annex/Archives.
  • Accepted the 2016-17 Review of Centers and Institutes, which recommended the continuation of eight centers/institutes and the one-year extension of two others. Those being continued are: Center for Ring Theory and Its Applications; Institute of Nuclear and Particle Physics; Center for Advanced Materials Processing; T. Richard and Eleanora K. Robe Leadership Institute; Infectious and Tropical Disease Institute; Edison Biotechnology Institute; Institute for the Empirical Study of Language; and the Nanoscale and Quantum Phenomena Institute. Those extended for one year are: Avionics Engineering Research Center; Institute for Applied and Professional Ethics.