Trustees Approve New Residence Hall, 2016-17 Tuition Rates

Ferris State UniversityConstruction services for a new north-campus residence hall was among the items approved by Ferris State University’s board of trustees at its regular meeting on Friday, May 6 in Big Rapids.

In December 2015, the trustees approved preconstruction services for the new main campus residence hall. At its May meeting, the board provided the administration authorization to move forward with construction services that would have the new facility ready for occupancy by August 2017. Jerry Scoby, vice president for administration and finance, was grateful for the board’s support to move forward with a project that will enhance the residential experience – particularly for first-year students.

“This new residence hall, on the north end of our main campus, will be a great addition to a part of campus that is surrounded by some important student support services, including the FLITE library, the newly-renovated University Center with its Quad Café, many of our academic classrooms and laboratories, and greenspace with the Quad,” Scoby said. “The location of this new residence hall is the result of an extensive visioning and planning process that was inclusive of valuable student input.”

The new residence hall will be designed and located in a way that helps the transition of first-year residents to campus life. The new hall, approved by trustees at a cost not to exceed $28.15 million, will feature 350 to 400 beds.

“The addition of this new north-campus hall will greatly enhance the residential life of our campus, particularly for those first-year students who will reside there,” Scoby said.

The board also approved funding to remodel existing West Campus Apartment units. For typical apartments, the scope of the work will include new appliances, countertops, faucets, flooring, exterior doors and frames, and other repairs as needed. The renovations will complement the addition of 60 new beds to the West Campus Apartments complex, a project that is expected to be completed by August 2016.

“The University understands that quality housing options are important to students,” Scoby said. “We’re excited about the progress of the new units that are being added to the West Campus Apartments complex. Additionally, the University has recognized how important it was that we maintain our existing facilities. The board’s action allows us to improve our on-campus apartments to continue to meet the expectations of our student residents.”

In other action, trustees also approved tuition rates for the 2016-17 academic year with an average resident, undergraduate increase of 2.71 percent, which includes a 2.62-percent increase for lower-level courses and a 2.81-percent increase for upper-level courses. The increase is significantly lower than the 4.8-percent state tuition restraint threshold as the university continues its efforts to constrain costs and reduce student debt. Full-time resident undergraduate tuition was set at $392 for lower-level courses and $403 for upper-level courses. The university has also continued to increase institutional aid to students. Since the 2008-09 academic year, institutional aid has gone up from $13 million to $22.7 million during the 2015-16 academic year. Ferris plans to budget an additional $1.7 million in aid, to $24.4 million in 2016-17.

Other items that came before the trustees:

  • The board set a preliminary 2016-17 general fund operating budget. This budget includes $197 million for main and regional campuses and $19 million for KCAD. The university’s total preliminary budget for the next fiscal year increased by 1.5 percent, to $216,848,827.

  • Trustees set a preliminary 2016-17 housing and dining services budget of $34,282,804, an increase of 1.9 percent. This figure represents an increase from the $33.6 million figure the previous year.

  • The board approved the sale of bonds for the new north-campus residence hall and other projects up to a combined $34.5 million, plus any refinancing of existing bonds.

  • The trustees authorized project plans for the intercollegiate soccer and intramural fields. Both fields will remain in their current locations, but necessary upgrades will be addressed. The intercollegiate soccer field will be updated to meet dimensional and other NCAA requirements, and a new artificial playing surface will be constructed. The project is expected to be completed in two years, including three summers. Rockford Construction has been selected as the construction management firm.

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. Ramirez-Saenz, of Rockford; Rupesh K. Srivastava, of Wixom; and Arthur L. Tebo, of Walloon Lake.

The next regular meeting of the Board is Friday, Oct. 7 in Grand Rapids. Committee meetings are scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. followed by the full board meeting at 11 a.m.