A 10 -year, $40 million master plan that addresses West Virginia Universitys growing student enrollment, aging facilities and changing housing trends among students was adopted Friday at the June Board of Governors meeting.

The long-range plan underscores WVU s commitment to the first-year student experience and meets the increased demand for University-owned housing by adding two new residence halls, purchasing a local private facility and extensively renovating University-owned facilities. Once completed, there will be 1,100 more spaces, bringing the housing capacity to over 4,800.

The board also approved the University budget which includes pay raises for faculty and staff, approved a resolution authorizing reimbursement for capital expenditures made prior to issuance of tax-exempt revenue bonds, and elected officers for the 2004-2005 term.

Housing Initiative

The housing initiative, said Scott Kelley, vice president for administration, finance and human resources,accommodates all of our freshman class, a modest number of returning students, limited upperclassmen and graduate studentsparticularly international studentsand still allows the private sector to handle additional increases in demand from upperclassmen that are being driven by enrollment growth and increased retention goals.

The plan calls for:

  • the purchase of Summit Hall on Grant Avenue
  • an extended 11-year lease of Pierpont Apartments on Oakland Street
  • the construction of new Evansdale and Downtown Campus residence hallsprojected opening of four-story Evansdale facility is fall 2006, followed by a downtown high rise in fall 2007
  • the renovation of the four towers at the Evansdale Residential Complexone each year from fall 2008 through fall 2011
  • the demolition of College Park Apartments near University High School
  • continuous maintenance, renovation and improvements to other WVU -owned housing facilities

The new halls will be located near the Physical Plant facility across from the Evansdale Residential Complex and in the current parking lot next to Summit Hall. Each will likely share dining facilities with its neighboring hall.

The downtown hall will also further stimulate Sunnyside development, Kelley noted.

The new and renovated facilities are expected to be more appealing to both students and parents, providing greater technology access, larger living accommodations, more privacy in bathrooms, personalization options in furnishings and dining, enhanced security programs and other amenities.

Still under future consideration is what to do with WVU s Medical Center and Faculty Apartments and residence halls on WVU s regional campuses.

The plan also leaves room for continued private sector housing, Kelley addedat minimum 2,500 additional spaces.

Our market study indicates that there will be continued student demandeven growthfor private sector housing over the next 10 years,he said.There are plenty of students to accommodate outside the freshmen and limited returning students we will serve. We will continue to be good neighbors.

The initiative is also financially sound, Kelley noted, with the rent from the new and renovated facilities projected to cover the $40 million price tag, and also generate additional revenue.

For the past several years, WVU has leased more than 1,000 beds in leased facilities around town, including all of Summit Hall (546 beds) and five of the nine floors at Pierpont (290 beds), plus 211 additional beds at Sterling Ridge Apartments on Wedgewood Drive.

University-owned halls currently accommodate 3,748 beds in the following halls: Arnold Hall, 652 Price St., 572 beds; Boreman North and South, 542 beds; Dadisman, 381 beds; Stalnaker, 250 beds; Evansdale Residential Complex (ERC)Brooke Tower, 480 beds; Bennett Tower, 430 beds; Braxton Tower, 426 beds; and Lyon Tower, 426 beds; Fieldcrest, 104 room; Spruce House, 37 beds.

It is well documented that since 1999, demand for University-owned housing has been greater than capacity,Kelley said.In 1999, we were at 104 percent occupancy and by fall of last year we reached 134 percent capacity. This plan responds to the current demand and also looks to the future.

That future calls for 300 more freshmen over the next three years, he added.

The plan must now go before the Higher Education Policy Commission.

University Budget

Kelley also presented, and the board approved, a proposed 2004-2005 combined University operating budget of approximately $600 million. The figure reflects a 2-3 percent projected salary increase for faculty and staff that will cost between $7.5-8 million, a 4.5 percent reduction in state appropriations and other mandated expenses, tuition and fee increases (already approved by the board) and some projected enrollment growth.

The board also approved a resolution authorizing reimbursement for capital expenditures (estimated at $150 million) made prior to issuance of tax-exempt revenue bonds for upcoming capital projects such as the housing and athletic initiatives.

Presidents Report

Calling it anexceptional year,President David C. Hardesty, in his written report to the Board, stated that the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools indicated upon its recent exit interview with WVU officials that they would be recommending a 10-year reaccreditation.

He noted that enrollment continues to climb, with another record freshman class expected, and applauded the recently concluded capital campaign effort that reached the $336 million fund-raising mark. He also cited the research efforts currently under way, including advances in nanotechnology and neurosciences.

After multiple years of budget cuts, he said, WVU has managed to keep its finances stable. Next years tuition increases will not cover the combination of state reductions and increases in insurance costs; therefore, more savings and cuts in operating costs will have to be found to cover the pay raise proposal planned for October.

He gave special thanks to outgoing Board Chair CurtisHankBarnette for his exceptional volunteer service to his alma mater

Athletic Report

Ed Pastilongs update on WVU s intercollegiate athletic program included a progress report on the approximately $30 million in construction, renovation and life safety projects taking place at Milan Puskar Stadium, the WVU Coliseum and the Dick Dlesk Soccer Complex.

He also highlighted some of the athletic and academic successes of the past year, including those in football, mens and womens basketball, womens soccer, womens gymnastics and wrestling.

He updated the Board on the restructuring of the Big East conference and said he was pleased with the graduation rates (59 percent) and combined grade-point averages (2.9) of student athletes.

Touching on future challenges, he said increases in tuition will have a $3.2 million impact on the departments self-supporting budget by 2007.

Other Action:

The board also:

  • elected officers Douglas J. Leech, chairman, replacing CurtisHankBarnette; T. Joseph Lopez, vice chair, replacing Leech; and Paul E. Gates, secretary, replacing Lopez
  • approved contracts for Health Sciences Center projects
  • approved Puskar Center heating, ventilation and air conditioning modifications and life safety improvements at the Coliseum
  • approved a resolution for a memorandum of understanding between the Board of Risk and Insurance Management (BRIM) and the BOG on behalf of the WVU Health Sciences Center to become self-insured to cover the initial $250,000 of medical liability in light of rising medical malpractice costs
  • approved the annual promotion and tenure report and graduate and professional fee waivers
  • approved the contract of Marie Gnage as president of WVU at Parkersburg
  • approved the appointment of Beverly Jo Harris as president of the Community and Technical College at the WVU Institute of Technology per Senate Bill 448, stipulating that provosts shall become presidents

The meeting recessed during former President Ronald Reagans funeral service and reconvened in the afternoon. The board will meet again Sept. 9-10.