The Central Michigan University Board of Trustees today approved $13 million to improve and modernize the residence life experience for students.
It is the first of three phases in a $76 million residence life infrastructure improvement plan.
"This project will significantly improve existing residence life facilities, construct new facilities and plan for future improvements," said Barrie Wilkes, vice president for finance and administrative services. "Every part of this project is focused on supporting the success of our students."
Phase I will fund the following initiatives in 2019:
This first phase also includes demolition of Barnes Hall, which opened in 1951 and is the only remaining residence hall on campus with community bathrooms.
Kathleen Gardner, director of residence life, said decommissioning a residence hall always brings fond memories for alumni. In this case, that includes Leader Advancement Scholars, whose living and learning community has been in Barnes.
"Barnes Hall has been a great home to thousands of students during their time at CMU. There are strong ties to a building where lifelong friendships were formed and memories were made," Gardner said. "This is a time to celebrate the history of Barnes as we also look to evolve our residence life program for generations to come."
Additional phases of the project — anticipated for 2020 and 2021 — include:
- Modernization of the Merrill and Robinson residential restaurants.
- Construction of a North Campus Wellness Center.
- Creation of a Central Plaza green space between Sweeney and Thorpe halls.
- Construction of a new parking lot south of Broomfield Road.
- Planning for the demolition and replacement of Northwest Apartments and Kewadin Village.
In his opening report to the board, CMU President Bob Davies recapped his first 90 days at the university. Highlights included his "Learning and Listening Tour," through which he learned of challenges and opportunities that formed his priorities and focus for the upcoming year. He cited nine areas: enrollment management; diversity, equity and inclusion; long-term planning for the College of Medicine; marketing and communications; fundraising; legislative affairs; community relations; university culture and internal relations; and senior leadership planning.
He also noted the need to continue to reinforce the three imperatives outlined in CMU's Advancing Excellence Strategic Plan: nurturing student success, fostering scholarly activity, and strengthening partnerships in Michigan and beyond.
"We must ensure all of us at CMU understand these imperatives; how we impact them; and how they impact the overall university and drive our decision-making processes, including budgeting and resource allocation," he said.
He noted that next semester, a universitywide review of the strategic plan will be conducted to acknowledge accomplishments and identify next steps through strategies that need to be modified, adjusted, added or deleted for the university to continue on its trajectory.
The president highlighted several university initiatives directed toward advancing diversity, equity and inclusion, including those in residence halls.
The president's full report is posted online.
During committee meetings Wednesday, trustees also heard about the implementation of recommendations related to academic organizational review; student support strategies; and updates on capital projects, including the Center for Integrated Health Studies and the Chippewa Champions Alumni Center.
In other action, trustees approved:
- Nearly 1,900 graduates who will receive degrees or certificates next week.
- Sabbatical leave for 48 faculty members in 2019 or 2020.
- Naming opportunities representing $1.1 million in gifts, including from Trustee William and Molly Weideman and Trustee Michael and Kathleen Sandler.
- Revisions to the Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities and Disciplinary Procedures related to Michigan's new law allowing the use of recreational marijuana. The possession or use of marijuana continues to be banned on campus.
- Reauthorization of six charter public school academies and two Schools of Excellence that are cyber schools. They also authorized two new academies, Escuela Avancemos! in Detroit and Ivywood Classical Academy in Livonia.
- Deferred maintenance projects for fiscal year 2020 of $5.7 million, focused primarily on masonry restoration, roof replacement and HVAC infrastructure improvements.
Trustees also accepted the research awards report of $9.5 million received during the past three months.
Election of board officers
In their final action of the day, trustees elected board officers for 2019.
Tricia Keith, executive vice president, chief of staff and corporate secretary for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, will serve as chair. She joined the board in 2012 and served as vice chair in 2017 and 2018.
Vice chairs will be trustees Robert F. Wardrop II, president and attorney of Wardrop and Wardrop P.C., and Richard Studley, president and CEO of the Michigan Chamber of Commerce.
“I love this university but it’s not
just the university, it’s the people. Getting a degree from here changed
my life. We tell everyone at commencement to put their stamp on the
world. Well, CMU's stamp hit my heart." — Bill Kanine (right)
Recognizing Bill Kanine
Bill Kanine, a CMU alumnus, was recognized for eight years of service on the Board of Trustees … and so much more.
Kanine served as board chair in 2014 and 2015, as well as chair or a member of the finance and facilities committee each year of his term. He also participated in 45 commencement ceremonies during his time as a board member — including every ceremony since 2014.
Along with being a board member, Kanine and his wife, Carla, have been supporters of the university for many years.
"I can't tell you what an outstanding board member Bill has been," Chair Bill Weideman said. "He has been so active and attended every meeting. He and Carla also provide financial support and their time and talents in support of students, athletics and the whole university."
Kanine thanked the CMU administration and community, noting his vested interest in CMU.
"I love this university but it's not just the university, it's the people. Getting a degree from here changed my life," he said. "We tell everyone at commencement to put their stamp on the world. Well, CMU's stamp hit my heart."