Renovation project approved at final Board of Trustees meeting of school year

Changes to Core Curriculum and student retention also dicussed

<p>Ball State President Geoffrey Mearns and Ball State Board of Trustees Chair Renae Conley lead the Board of Trustees meeting May 5 at the L.A. Pittenger Student Center. Hannah Amos, DN</p>

Ball State President Geoffrey Mearns and Ball State Board of Trustees Chair Renae Conley lead the Board of Trustees meeting May 5 at the L.A. Pittenger Student Center. Hannah Amos, DN

The Ball State University’s Board of Trustees held its final meeting of the 2022-23 academic year May 5 in L.A. Pittenger Student Center.

North Campus Renovation Project

The board approved the North Campus Renovation Project, which will cost $81.6 million and is scheduled for completion in June 2026, Jim Lowe, Ball State associate vice president for facilities, planning and management, said.

The project will renovate the Architecture Building, University Theater, the Arts and Communication Building and the Hargreaves Music Building. These buildings’ fire safety systems, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance, electrical, and plumbing will be updated. 

This project also aims to install and improve the geothermal systems within the buildings, as well as make larger and flexible spaces for students in those buildings, Lowe said. 

Due to the growth of the majors within these buildings, the space available is not the most efficient or effective for teaching students. For example, dance majors have classes within eight buildings, one of which — the Oakwood building — is a mile from campus, Lowe said. 

The project will also renovate the Architecture Building. Plans include taking out the slanted glass roof and making it square to gain more room for students.

The process for the renovations is approved to start June 2023. Lowe recognized the challenge of relocating students during this process but said they’ve successfully relocated students while renovating buildings in the past, though each project is different.

Core Curriculum Modernization

The Academic and Student Affairs Committee is looking into modernizing the Core Curriculum, potentially lowering it from 36 credit hours to 30. 

Interim Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Anand Marri said a meeting will be held May 10 with 18 members, including himself, to discuss possible options to stay within Indiana Commission for Higher Education (ICHE) mandates. After that meeting, there will be a meeting every week throughout the summer, and by May 2024, the committee will discuss the Core Curriculum. 

In ICHE’s strategic plan, there are three areas for degrees: completion, equity and talent. Kecia McBridle, vice provost for Academic Affairs, brought up ICHE’s goal of having 60 percent of Hoosiers have a quality degree by 2025; Ball State is currently at 43.4 percent of that goal. 

“The curriculum, of course, works to best serve the needs of the students and also ensure long-term institutional viability, and I think that the core, when it was developed previously did, and whatever we work towards in the future will also do that,” McBridle said.

McBridle said the committee was given the deadline of December 2022 to give six possible proposals of credits to drop. The six presented did not follow PCI so it was decided to take a step back and rethink. 

Student Success and Retention

Jason Rivera, associate vice provost for student success and dean of university college, spoke for the Academic and Student Affairs Committee on student success and retention. He spoke on seminars being available for first-years with 420 seats available with enrollment starting May 5 until the Fall 2023 semester. 

He also talked about the Student Success office’s five success coaches helping 1248 individuals. Of the 1248 students, 70 percent responded to a survey. Of the 70 percent 96 percent said they achieved their goal and 4 percent said they “maybe” achieved their goal. 

Rivera also discussed the increase in the use of the Learning Center, especially after COVID-19. He said 12 percent of undergraduate students use the center, the same percentage it was prior to the pandemic. 

The College Success Scholars Program, an academic recovery program, started in fall 2022. A pilot program helped 141 students over summer 2022 with 71 percent of them re-enrolling fall 2022, eventually growing to 78 percent the following spring semester, Riviera said.

Riviera stated there was an overall increase in retention of students throughout the university. 

Other Agenda Items

Ball State President Geoffrey Mearns re-appointed Lowe to the Muncie Community Schools (MCS) School Board with the Board of Trustees' approval. 

Lowe has been on the MCS board since June 2018 and has started projects such as the construction of a new football and track field at Muncie Central High School, Mearns said.

The One Ball State Day committee came and discussed how the day went. On One Ball State Day, $1.2 million was raised with 6,300 total gifts. Of the total money raised, 70 percent was donated online, Amanda Holmquist, senior director of annual giving, said.  

At the end of the meeting, Mearns recognized many student achievements, such as the College of Architecture and Planning’s Alley House receiving the grand prize in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon Build Challenge, among others.

RELATED: Ball State University's College of Architecture and Planning is at the half-way mark for the Solar Decathlon 2023 Build Competition

The next meeting of the board will be June 16 at the Student Center in Cardinal Hall A and B.

Contact Hannah Amos with comments at or on Twitter @Hannah_Amos_394.


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