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Trustees Approve Main Campus Construction, Demolition Projects

Ferris State UniversityThe Ferris State University Board of Trustees approved several construction, demolition and renovation projects for the Big Rapids campus during its regular meeting on Friday, Feb. 20 in the new University Center building.

Trustees approved renovation projects for academic spaces in several main campus facilities, including the Automotive, College of Business and Starr buildings. Fourteen classrooms in Starr as well as rooms in Business will undergo renovations that include furniture and technological upgrades. The board also approved funding for selective renovations inside of the Prakken Building on the Big Rapids campus.

Pre-construction and additional professional services for a future Swan Building Annex renovation were also approved by the trustees. The services will be focused on the two-story portion of the building. The facility is currently the primary home of the Welding Engineering and Advanced Manufacturing Engineering Technology programs on the first floor, and the Printing program on the second floor. The renovation will help the programs better meet current enrollment demand as well as projected growth in those academic programs. The university also plans to relocate Printing to a different building. The university plans to complete its pre-construction work to have the project ready to bid out upon approval from the state of Michigan.

The university is partnering with Neumann Smith Architecture and Granger Construction on the project.

Completion of the Swan Annex project is expected to free approximately 10,000 square feet of Swan’s five-story main building that could be re-purposed for other academic needs. Trustees authorized pre-construction planning and other professional services for renovation of this space. The administration has recommended a partnership with this same team for the main Swan renovation project.

Trustees also approved a renovation project for Cramer Hall, an 11-story student residential facility originally built in 1969. To fix up the building’s interior, approval was granted for the renovation of approximately 95 suites – including upgrades of fixtures, furniture and equipment.

Additionally, trustees approved demolition of four of the oldest residential buildings on the Big Rapid campus. These are East Campus Apartment buildings H and K, constructed in 1955; Helen Ferris Hall, constructed in 1956; South Campus Apartment buildings L, M, N and P, constructed in 1958; and Taggart Hall, constructed in 1964. The demolition of these facilities has been identified in the campus facilities master plan for some time. With completion of the new University Center, demolition of Helen Ferris Hall is the final component of creating an open and pedestrian-centered campus Quad.

The board also approved granting three honorary doctorates – to Dale Hagerman, Karl Linebaugh and Fred Shell:

  • Dale Hagerman, a 1951 graduate of Ferris’ College of Pharmacy, will receive an Honorary Doctorate in Health Services from the university. Dale is an important figure in the state of Michigan pharmacy community. He started Ideal Pharmacy before he and his son, Phil, together developed Diplomat Pharmacy, which has provided significant and new economic possibilities for the city of Flint. He will receive an Honorary Doctorate in Health Services;
  • Karl Linebaugh is president of Chemical Bank’s North Region and an important figure in the Big Rapids community since 1972. He also has deep ties to the university. In addition to serving on The Ferris Foundation Board of Directors, Linebaugh has served in a board position and as past chair for Friends of Ferris, and has membership in the University’s Founder’s Club. He is also past president of the Bulldog Club and served on the 2003 presidential search committee. He will receive an Honorary Doctorate of Business and Industry; and
  • Fred Shell, vice president of Corporate and Government Affairs for DTE Energy, a Detroit-based diversified energy company involved in the development and management of energy-related businesses and services nationwide. In his role as president of the DTE Energy Foundation, Shell was supportive of Ferris’ Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia and its mission to use objects of intolerance to teach tolerance and promote social justice. Shell will receive an Honorary Doctorate of Public Service.

In other action, the trustees approved:

  • 27 appointments/reappointments to members of the boards of directors of Ferris-Authorized Charter School academies; reauthorizations for Connor Creek Academy East, in Roseville; Marshall Academy, in Marshall; and Northridge Academy, in Flint; charter school contract amendments to extend the contract of Allen Academy, in Detroit, and to add the eighth grade to Schools for the Future of Detroit; and termination of the charter contract for Oakland-Macomb Montessori Academy, in Roseville;
  • external audit services from Andrews Hooper Pavlik for audits of the fiscal years ending on June 30, 2015, 2016 and 2017;
  • authorization for the administration to secure professional services required to complete a facility condition assessment;
  • the Kendall College of Art and Design’s request to recommend approval for the lease with 89 Ionia Partners, LLC for the second floor at 89 Ionia in Grand Rapids. KCAD already leases the sixth floor space at 89 Ionia;
  • an easement agreement with the city of Big Rapids, which would allow the city to run a water line that would be part of the loop to connect the water tower just southeast of the Sports Complex with the water tower on the north side of Perry Avenue near the Holiday Inn; and

The trustees are chair Paul E. Boyer, of Ada; vice chair Erin R. Brown, of East Lansing; secretary Lori Gwizdala, of Bay City; immediate past chair Gary L. Granger, of Byron Center; Alisha M. Baker, of Mount Clemens; Ana L. Ramierz-Saenz, of Rockford; Rupesh K. Srivastava, of Wixom; and Arthur L. Tebo, of Walloon Lake.

The next regular meeting of the trustees is Friday, May 8 in Big Rapids. Committee meetings are scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. followed by the full board meeting at 11 a.m.