GRAND RAPIDS – Ferris State University’s Board of Trustees approved housing and dining rates for the 2020-21 academic year and more at its regular meeting on Friday, Oct. 4 at the Woodbridge N. Ferris Building in Grand Rapids.
Trustees approved the administration’s proposed 2020-21 room and board rate at $9,650 for a freshman with a double room and the bronze or silver meal plan. That represents a 3.9-percent rate decrease, for a freshman, from 2019-20. The administration added a lower-cost “bronze” option for students seeking a smaller meal plan. The university does anticipate that the “silver” plan will continue to rank as the most popular student option. The university further anticipates that the addition of the lower-cost meal plan option will move Ferris’ ranking to second-lowest among peer Michigan universities. In 2009-10, Ferris was second-highest among state universities in Michigan.
The board has now authorized a total of $1.5 million in funding for professional services to complete design development for the Center for Virtual Learning project. In December 2018, the state legislature passed, and then-Gov. Rick Snyder signed into law, PA 601 of 2018, which granted project planning authorization. It is considered the first step in the state of Michigan’s capital outlay approval process. The future facility, on the Big Rapids campus, would house the School of Digital Media, Information Security and Intelligence, Career and Technical Education, Teacher Education and online. The Center for Virtual Learning would be located adjacent to FLITE, the Ferris Library for Information, Technology and Education. Trustees further approved the submission of the Center for Virtual Learning as an FY2021 state of Michigan capital outlay request, a component of the university’s five-year capital outlay master plan.
Among other action items, the trustees approved:
- President David Eisler’s recommendation to officially name the Institute for Construction Education and Training Hot Mix Asphalt Laboratory facility the “Asphalt Pavement Association of Michigan Training Facility,” effective immediately. APAM recently gifted $1 million to support ICET’s new Hot Mix Asphalt Laboratory facility east of campus, which broke ground in June and is expected to be completed in January 2020. APAM’s Executive Director John Becsey and Board Director Jim Klett have served many years on the Construction Management program’s Industry Advisory Board and remain active members today. Other naming recognitions approved included the “Dr. Starr D. Kohn, PE, Classroom” and the “Klett Family Hot Mix Asphalt Laboratory” in the APAM Training Facility;
- a final general operating budget of $206.5 million, a reduction of $2.2 million from the preliminary budget reduction due to lower-than-anticipated Fall 2019 student credit hour enrollment;
- securing professional services for updating the university’s campus master plan to include Ferris’ facilities in Grand Rapids; and
- acceptance of residential property in suburban Detroit with an estimated market value of approximately $1.1 million. Leonard Kruszewski, the executor on behalf of the George F. Riley Estate, has gifted the Farmington Hills, Michigan residence to the university. Sale proceedings for the property have been designated to develop additional museum space which will increase the square footage of the Card Wildlife Education Center on the Big Rapids campus. The balance of the proceeds will be used to establish a Card Wildlife Education Center endowment which will provide operational support for the museum.
The trustees are chair Amna P. Seibold, of East Grand Rapids; vice chair Ana L. Ramirez-Saenz, of Grand Rapids; secretary Rupesh K. Srivastava, of Wixom; member-at-large Lori A. Gwizdala, of Bay City; Robert J. Hegbloom, of Clarkston; Kurt A. Hofman, of Grand Rapids; Kari L. Sederburg, of East Lansing; and LaShanda R. Thomas, of Grosse Pointe.
The next regular meeting of the Board is Friday, Dec. 13 in Big Rapids. Committee meetings begin at 3 p.m. followed by the 4 p.m. full board meeting.