Board of Trustees actions: September 9, 2005

September 15, 2005

Penn State's Board of Trustees met on Friday, September 9, at Penn State's University Park campus. The following items were presented to the board for action or informational purposes:

Penn State Board of Trustees meets; President Spanier's remarks
Penn State's Board of Trustees held its regular, bi-monthly meeting Sept. 9 at Penn State's University Park campus. In his opening remarks to the board, President Graham B. Spanier highlighted Penn State's ongoing efforts to assist with Hurricane Katrina relief efforts, including the acceptance of dozens of displaced college students and provisions to ease the transition for students called to National Guard duty to aid in the response. He also cited that this year marks the second-best year in Penn State history in terms of applications, which totalled nearly 84,000, and that Penn State has earned high marks in various national rankings of colleges and universities -- including a No. 6 national ranking by Washington Monthly magazine of the top universities that benefit the country as a whole. Also highlighted was the University's selection as the site of one of four regional climate centers being established by the U.S. Department of Energy's National Institute for Climatic Change Research. Spanier also offered kudos to the University employees responsible for the dramatic facilities and landscaping improvements that have been completed in recent years.
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Penn State proposes tuition freeze at 20 campuses through 2006-07 funding request
Penn State, facing a continuing trend of underfunding that has shifted more of the burden of educational costs to students and families, has developed a new state funding proposal that would result in a freeze of tuition rates for nearly half of the University's student body. The University's 2006-07 state appropriation request, approved today (Sept. 9) by Penn State's Board of Trustees, seeks an increase from the commonwealth of 10 percent for its Educational and General line item, and an overall increase of 9.5 percent in its appropriation. An increase also is included for the Pennsylvania College of Technology. In return, the University would hold the tuition rates for nearly 38,000 students at 20 undergraduate campus locations at their current 2005-06 level, and limit the increase for Pennsylvania resident students at University Park to 5.9 percent. Pennsylvania's community colleges received a 10 percent increase in state appropriations in 2005-06. If approved, a similar increase for Penn State in the next fiscal year would net nearly $30.9 million, for a total appropriation to the University of approximately $354.4 million.
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Board approves capital budget request of $46.54 million
Penn State's Board of Trustees today (Sept. 9) authorized the University to request $46.54 million from the Pennsylvania legislature to providing additional funding for previously approved capital budget projects beginning next fiscal year. Penn State's capital budget funds new construction and renovation projects at all 24 Penn State locations across the commonwealth. "Penn State has made marked progress in addressing critical space needs on its campuses, but the need remains to build new space and renovate some of our aging infrastructure," said Gary C. Schultz, senior vice president for finance and business/treasurer. "The requests for additional funding this year are a result of increases in project scope and construction costs." Despite being one of the nation's largest universities and among the top 10 institutions in research expenditures, Penn State lags behind its peers in terms of adequate instructional and research facilities. An aggressive five-year construction plan in progress - which includes nearly $500 million for educational facilities and almost $300 million for medical projects - is alleviating some of those concerns and modernizing the facilities available to students and faculty.
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Board approves architect for law school expansion, renovation
Moving forward on Penn State's plans for a two-campus Dickinson School of Law, the University's Board of Trustees today (Sept. 9) approved the appointment of Polshek Partnership of New York and Office for Planning and Architecture of Harrisburg, Pa., to design plans for the renovation and expansion of the current facilities at the law school's Carlisle campus and the construction of new facilities at University Park. Gary C. Schultz, senior vice president for finance and business/treasurer of the university, explained plans for the expanded facilities at both campuses will include courtrooms, legislative hearing rooms, auditoriums, libraries, state-of-the-art classrooms, common spaces and exterior gathering spaces. The original portion of Trickett Hall at the Carlisle campus will be renovated, along with the construction of a new building. The planned new facility at University Park will be located north of Park Avenue, adjacent to the Arboretum and in close proximity to the new Smeal College of Business Administration Building and Forest Resources Building.
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Preliminary plans approved for new graduate housing
Preliminary plans for new student housing at Graduate Circle on Penn State's University Park campus received approval from the University's Board of Trustees today (Sept. 9). The board also approved the re-authorization to award contracts for the construction of Medlar Field at Lubrano Park, the new ballpark to be constructed near Beaver Stadium and the Bryce Jordan Center. Gordon Turow, director of campus planning and design, told the board that plans for the new student housing propose an initial 150 apartments for graduate students on the site of the existing Graduate Circle, which was built in 1960 and will be demolished. The preliminary plans accommodate future build out, which when fully implemented may include up to 336 apartments. The three new buildings will include 125 single-level flats and 25 two-level loft apartments. The flats will be approximately 350 square feet and will contain a combined living room and sleeping area, a full kitchen, bathroom and two closets. The loft apartments will be about 450 square feet with the lower level similar to that of the flats and stairs leading to an upper level containing a sleeping area.
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Trustees approve hangar purchase at University Park Airport
The Penn State Board of Trustees today (Sept. 9) approved the acquisition of a hangar at University Park Airport and also gave re-authorization to award contracts for the design and construction of 'T' hangars at the airport. The University will acquire the GPI Aviation hangar at the airport. Gary C. Schultz, senior vice president for finance and business/treasurer of the University, said that in 1997 the University entered into a 25-year lease agreement with GPI and in 1999 extended the lease to 2027. Under the terms of the lease, GPI constructed the hangar and related improvements, which were offered to the University for $1.4 million, including terms for the termination of the lease agreement. Additionally, the board gave re-authorization to award contracts to erect five pre-engineered buildings at the airport for 50 'T' hangars at a cost not to exceed $2.18 million.
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Trustees approve property purchase
The Penn State Board of Trustees today (Sept. 9) approved the purchase of a .48-acre property in Ferguson Township, adjoining Penn State's University Park campus. The property, located on the corner of West College Avenue and Corl Street at 1207, 1221 and 1223 W. College Ave., currently includes three adjoining, single-family homes that have been converted to apartments. Following acquisition of the property, the structures are expected to be demolished to accommodate the realignment of Corl Street, improving the condition of the presently misaligned intersection of Corl Street and West College Avenue. The property is to be acquired from Vance V. Witmer for $425,000.
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Trustees renew appointments of members to the Penn State Investment Council
Penn State's Board of Trustees has renewed the appointments of five non-University representatives to the Penn State Investment Council. The board established the council in September 2000 to provide direct oversight of the University's endowment and long-term investment program in response to Penn State's increasing asset base and complex marketing strategies. The council regularly reviews asset allocation, new asset classes, investment strategies, and manager performance, and provides semi-annual updates and reports regarding investment performance to the Board of Trustees. The members who had their appointments renewed today (Sept. 9) are: Timothy J. Crowe, vice president and chief financial officer of The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation in Miami; Edward Hintz, president of Hintz, Holman & Robillard, Inc. in Chatham, NJ; Arthur D. Miltenberger, vice president and chief financial officer (retired) of R.K.Mellon & Sons in Ligonier; David Rogers, chief executive officer of J.D. Capital Management in Greenwich, Conn.; and Linda B. Strumpf, vice president and chief investment officer of The Ford Foundation in New York.
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Newspaper readership program serves as national model
Students who read newspapers become more informed citizens. Such is the idea behind Penn State's Newspaper Readership program -- a concept so popular it has become the model for more than 370 similar programs nationwide. Amid concerns of declining newspaper readership among college students, Penn State President Graham B. Spanier created the Newspaper Readership program in 1997 as an effective, low-cost way of delivering local and national newspapers to students, said Vicky L. Triponey, vice president for student affairs, in an informational report today (Sept. 9) to the University's Board of Trustees. A program that began within the residence halls at the University Park campus now has evolved to include all students at nearly every location within Penn State's 24-campus system. At each of the participating Penn State campuses, students have copies of USA TODAY, The New York Times and a local newspaper provided to them each day. The program is funded through a small tuition surcharge, and students can access their daily papers easily by inserting their student ID card into one of the many custom-designed distribution machines on campus. Each year, the University distributes more than one million newspapers to Penn State students.
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Security measures safeguard Penn State's computer networks
Maintaining a culture of openness when more than 80,000 inquiring minds have access to your computer network poses a unique security dilemma for universities like Penn State. But by implementing security measures, the University reported to the Board of Trustees today (Sept. 9) that it is taking steps to protect itself against rapidly evolving global threats. Securing computing and network systems in higher education poses distinct challenges. Whereas most businesses have the ability to lock down their networks and restrict access to external users, a multi-campus university like Penn State -- with more than 100,000 devices connected to the network -- does not have that luxury. To cope with today's hostile environment, Penn State has launched a three-pronged security strategy: provide education and awareness, be vigilant about incident response and implement technical controls. Future goals are to further automate both the detection and prevention phases, to optimize the University's ability to block an unknown attack before it has a chance to damage the network, and to implement better network access controls to detect problem machines before they are joined to the network.
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Penn State Outreach promotes access and engagement through technology
Evolving technology and the relocation of several Outreach units into the new Outreach Building are creating exciting opportunities for collaboration and innovation across the University, Vice President for Outreach Craig Weidemann reported to the Board of Trustees today (Sept. 9). By highlighting initiatives to expand access and engagement through new technology, some of which were illustrated in video segments, Weidemann emphasized how Outreach will be able to expand Penn State's reach across the commonwealth and beyond. The Outreach Building, located in Innovation Park on the University Park campus, is home to Continuing Education, Public Broadcasting and the World Campus — units once housed in various locations on and off campus. "The rapid evolution of technologies and the challenge of educational content delivery across multiple platforms, such as online or broadcast, suggests that the physical integration of the Outreach units is very timely," said Weidemann.
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Last Updated March 19, 2009