Board of Trustees convenes September meeting

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The Penn State Board of Trustees met today (Sept. 20) and took the following actions:

-- Approved a budget plan for 2014-15 that includes a request to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to increase appropriations to the University by $14.7 million. This is the first step in the appropriations process and there are many factors that will contribute toward a final University budget to be adopted in July 2014 by the Board of Trustees. For details, visit online.

-- Received a report on Penn State's capital construction plan for the next five years, and approved the University's borrowing authority. The University’s new $2.7 billion capital plan will focus on renewal of existing facilities and systems. The plan provides strategic investments in new construction, prioritizes much needed facility renewal of an aging physical plant and provides for the replacement of obsolete enterprise information technology systems. Although projects are listed in the capital plan, their inclusion does not guarantee Board of Trustee approval. Individual projects normally are presented to the board twice, and the board selects the architect, approves final plans and authorizes construction unless it is a state-funded project. For details, visit online.

-- Approved the renaming of the School of Nursing to the College of Nursing, effective immediately. This change recognizes that the College of Nursing has become an independent academic unit with an organizational structure consistent with other colleges at Penn State. The college has demonstrated academic excellence, achieved considerable growth in its graduate programs and research productivity and demonstrated an ongoing commitment to outreach. Over the last five years, the college also has become financially independent from the College of Health and Human Development. For details, go to online.

-- Approved the addition of 5.5 acres to the existing sales agreement of two adjacent parcels of undeveloped land along Whitehall Road near the University Park campus to Springton Point LP, a Pennsylvania limited partnership that is a wholly owned subsidiary of Toll Bros. Inc. The sale price of $13.5 million remains the same. For details, visit online.

-- Received information about Penn State's endowment and similar funds, and appointed three members and named one new member, all non-University employees, to the Penn State Investment Council, which provides direct oversight of the endowment and long-term investment program. Penn State's endowment and similar funds increased by $174 million in fiscal year 2013. The total market value reached a record high of $2.03 billion as of June 30, 2013, according to the report. Penn State's endowment performance placed it near the top of the first quartile among its peers for actual endowment returns over the three- and five-year periods ending June 30, 2013, according to a survey of nearly 150 colleges and universities by Cambridge Associates, a consulting firm that provides comprehensive reviews to universities on their investment approaches. For details, visit online.

The board also:

-- Was updated on the University's continuing reforms. With the recommendations from the Freeh Report substantially completed, Penn State administrators are concentrating on Phase II of the commitment to fulfilling the requirements of the Athletics Integrity Agreement signed a year ago as part of the consent decree with the NCAA and the Big Ten. For details, visit online.

-- Was briefed on a project to convert 3,000 square feet of existing unoccupied space on the third floor of the Millennium Sciences Complex for a new Cyber Health Initiative, and on plans to replace existing mechanical systems and aging inefficient piping in the Theatre Building, both at University Park. Once it is transformed, the currently unused area in the Millennium Sciences Complex will serve as a collaboration space for computational science and biomedical researchers. The project is estimated to cost $1.5 million and is being funded by the Pennsylvania Department of Health with Tobacco CURE funds. The improvements to the Theatre Building will contribute to decreased energy consumption in the building, fewer emergency repair and maintenance calls and greater student and employee comfort. The cost estimate for this project is $3.4 million. For details, visit online.

-- Was informed of the installation of approximately 450 Internet protocol-based video surveillance cameras in 60 residence hall and commons buildings at the University Park campus. The cameras will monitor ground-floor entrance lobbies, exit stairwells, elevators and commons service desks. Current plans call for installation to begin in October and be completed by May of 2014. For details, visit online.

For additional news from yesterday's (Sept. 19) Board of Trustees committee meetings, visit online.

Last Updated September 20, 2013