Trustees approve bonds for residence hall renovations, adopt new budget

July 9, 2010

As one Indiana State University residence hall prepares to reopen following a major overhaul, work is underway on another.

On Friday, the ISU board of trustees approved plans to sell up to $10 million in bonds to pay for renovation of Pickerl Hall. The action comes as an $11 million renovation nears completion at Sandison Hall, which will open its doors next month with themed housing for students in nursing and other health care fields and space for faculty-student conferences and group study sessions.

"The continued renovation of campus housing, and particularly the re-opening of Sandison Hall with themed housing, is exciting not only for students but for our faculty. We welcome the opportunities these projects will provide to interact with students beyond the classroom and play an even more active role in student success," said Jack Maynard, ISU's provost and vice president for academic affairs.

The Pickerl Hall project, which is already under way, will transform the six-story structure, built in 1963, from a traditional dormitory style arrangement to double rooms with private baths and individual heat and air conditioning controls. It will also include the installation of air conditioning throughout the building, fire suppression systems with sprinklers and alarms in each room, an upgraded heating system, new windows and structural repairs to the electrical system.

"This renovation is part of a systematic upgrading of the university's residence hall facilities to providing living and learning spaces that are attractive to prospective and returning students," said Diann McKee, vice president for business affairs and finance.

No state funds are involved in the project. The bond resolution trustees approved allows all or a portion of the bonds to be designated as Build America bonds under the American Recovery and Reimbursement Act of 2009 - a move that would make the university eligible for federal subsidies to cover a portion of borrowing expenses.

Indiana State trustees also approved a fiscal 2011 operating budget of $144.2 million, a figure that is just 0.3 percent higher than last year despite a 3.9 percent increase in student tuition and fees approved in 2009. The budget reflects $8.2 million in internal reallocations made necessary by a reduction in state funding and the loss of federal stimulus dollars.

Since the current two-year state budget period began in July 2010, Indiana State has reallocated about $13 million to meet reductions in state funding and provide for strategic priorities, McKee said.

The fiscal 2011 budget includes a 3 percent increase for salaries and projects a 6 percent increase in health insurance costs. McKee said a decision on any salary adjustments as well as the criteria for distribution will depend on final fall enrollment numbers and the overall budget picture at that time.

Indiana State's student aid budget for 2010-11 totals $11.3 million, or 7.8 percent of the total operating budget. The student aid budget includes direct payments to students in the form of scholarships and fee waivers, matching funds for participation in federal student aid programs, need-based aid and the university's unique ISU Laptop Award that provides laptop computers to incoming students with a 3.0 grade point average or higher.

The budget adds $520,000 to a reserve fund to cover high priority initiatives identified in the university's strategic plan, bringing the fund to $691,000. It also establishes a second reserve pool of $3 million for capital improvements to compensate for the elimination of such funding in the state budget.

Trustees approved a separate two-year capital budget that seeks $14 million in state funds to renovate historic Normal Hall - the oldest academic building on the ISU campus - for use as a Center for Student Success; $40 million for renovation of the Health and Human Services (Arena) Building used by the expanding College of Nursing, Health, and Human Services; and $9.4 million for general repair and rehabilitation.

Trustees elected officers for the coming year, maiantaining the current slate with Ron Carpenter of Indianapolis as president, Mike Alley of Carmel as vice president, Norm Lowery of Terre Haute as secretary and Randy Minas of Crown Point as assistant secretary.

In other action, the ISU board of trustees:

•  Authorized the university treasurer to seek state approval for the $1.63 million renovation of seven science research facilities, to be funded largely by a pending $1.56 million National Science Foundation grant
•  Approved a revised sick leave policy that is more consistent in the treatment of sick leave among employee groups
•  Approved a $10 per week increase in fees for the university Child Care Center
•  Approved a $25 monthly fee for students requesting telephones in their residence hall rooms, a move that recognizes the widespread use of cell phones by students.

Media contact and writer: Dave Taylor, media relations director, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3743 or dave.taylor@indstate.edu