Ferris Board of Trustees approves renovation projects

BIG RAPIDS – Ferris State University’s Classroom Renovation Project will continue after the University’s Board of Trustees approved Phase 4 renovations during the board’s regular meeting today (March 21).

As part of Phase 4 renovations, 13 classrooms and seven laboratories will receive upgrades to improve their functionality. Such upgrades will improve the academic learning environment for faculty and students through new carpet, furniture, paint and technology, said Richard Duffett, vice president for Administration and Finance.

The cost of renovations will not exceed $910,000 for classroom and $950,000 for laboratory improvements, he said. Renovations are expected to get underway at the end of spring semester and will conclude by the start of fall semester.

To date, 48 classrooms have been renovated.

“Our Classroom Renovation Project continues to advance the University’s commitment to being a learning-centered institution,” said Ferris President David Eisler. “Providing state-of-the-art learning spaces supports both our faculty and students, and helps enable education of the highest quality. Our goal is to enhance opportunities for learning in all the places our students study, live and interact.”

In other business, the board of trustees also approved revamping two of the University’s athletic facilities, including Ewigleben Ice Arena and Top Taggart Field.

Ice arena renovations will include replacement of existing ice rink floors and under slab mechanical systems, existing dasher boards and glass systems, and existing ventilation equipment to address indoor air quality issues; and upgrades to the ventilation systems in the main rink and locker room. The expected cost of the renovation is $3.3 million and will begin at the conclusion of the 2008 hockey season, Duffett said.

Constructed in 1974, Ewigleben Ice Arena was updated in 1998 with an intercollegiate hockey locker room and main rink press box. In 1999, one locker room was updated, and in 2003 the ice making compressors and associated mechanical room equipment were replaced.

The $1 million project at Top Taggart includes replacement of the field’s synthetic turf system and is scheduled for completion by Aug. 1, Duffett said. The turf was installed in 1998, with an expected lifespan of eight to 10 years.

In other renovation business, board members approved a $50,000 feasibility study of Masselink Hall, the University’s oldest residence hall, to determine the ramifications of renovation vs. full or partial demolition of the facility.

“The facility does not meet the programmatic needs and functional expectations of current students, with concrete block walls, hard tile floors, lack of appropriate ventilation and air conditioning, and an inadequate electrical system to support the various electronic devices students are accustomed to,” said Michael Hughes, associate vice president for Physical Plant.

Masselink Halls, east and west, and commons were constructed between 1955 and 1958. The facility currently houses two residence halls, MASCAR Grill Dining Center and serves as a hub for the Telecommunications department.

Finally, the board approved a Starbucks license agreement for installation of a licensed store at the University’s Interdisciplinary Resource Center/College of Business connector. The license agreement is a one-time $30,000 cost, with equipment and construction costs estimated at $350,000.


21 March, 2008