Worthen Arena to receive $6.4 million expansion

<p>The Board of Trustees met in L.&nbsp;A. Pittenger Student Center on Friday morning to discuss an update on enrollment, give&nbsp;a presentation on a multicultural&nbsp;approach to community policing and more.&nbsp;<em>Allie Kirkman // DN</em></p>

The Board of Trustees met in L. A. Pittenger Student Center on Friday morning to discuss an update on enrollment, give a presentation on a multicultural approach to community policing and more. Allie Kirkman // DN

The next Board of Trustees meeting will be Dec. 16. As always, all students and faculty are welcome to attend. 

Worthen Arena will be undergoing a $6.4 million expansion next year. The project will add two NCAA regulation-size courts for basketball and volleyball teams to use, team meeting rooms and study rooms, said Jim Lowe, associate vice president for facilities planning and management. 

All the money comes from the Cardinal Commitment program, a donation-funded project designed to improve athletics facilities.

The $20.6 million program has already funded improvements at the First Merchants Ballpark Complex, Briner Sports Complex, Scheumann Stadium and Worthen Arena, Lowe said. 

Lowe requested approval for the scope and budget for the project at the Board of Trustees meeting on Sept. 9. The board approved the request.

In addition to the approval for the scope and budget, the board also approved Lowe's proposal to name the Worthen Arena addition in honor of Don Shondell, the Ball State hall of fame men's volleyball coach. 

“I know the Shondell family and they are just a wonderful family," Lowe said. "What they brought to volleyball in this region and the state is phenomenal with [Shondell] starting the first program here and his sons coaching here. You walk into the Burris facility and you see the banners from all the state champions that he has coached ... It almost makes you cry because they are so good at what they do and the impact they have had on the sport and this community."

Trustee Hollis Hughes asked Lowe about increasing non-athletic uses for Worthen once the expansion is finished, and Lowe said the extra space should increase the university's ability to host other events in the arena.

Construction is expected to start in early summer 2017 and finish in 2018, Lowe said. 

Other topics discussed among the board during the meeting included enrollment and community policing. 

Kay Bales, vice president for student affairs and enrollment services, presented the enrollment update and started the discussion by saying, "there is nothing but good news."

This year, the university had the third largest number of students within the last 20 years, with an enrollment of 21,998. 

Freshman applications totaled 24,306, the largest number in Ball State history. The freshman class of 2020 is the second largest class in 15 years with 3,911 students. 

"I think that we admitted a great class," Bales said. 

Within that class, domestic minorities make up 18.8 percent of the population and out-of-state students account for 17.6 percent. Transfer and graduate enrollment also increased. This year, the university saw the largest graduate enrollment in Ball State history, totaling to 4,978 students.

Though this year brought multiple milestones within enrollment, the number of international students totaled to 543 in 2016, a drop from the 684 in 2014.

"If you look from 2014, we are down slightly in international students," Bales said. "As particular countries change their availability of funds for students to attend, that has dramatic impact on international students."

University Police Department Chief Jim Duckham and Ro Anne Royer Engle, interim associate vice president for student affairs and enrollment services, presented their goal for multicultural approaches to community policing. 

Duckham was not immediately available for further comment.

This partnership was created with the goal to dispel the myth about what policing is on campus and redefine what policing at Ball State is going to look like by engaging in all of the different communities.

In addition to community policing, UPD is working toward developing relationships with students by offering events that engage the community, such as Lunch with a Cop, which has already seen a large number of participants this year compared to past years.

"One negative contact has such a devastating impact on our community," Duckham said. "We are trying to increase positive interactions as much as we can."


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