Calling it a movement in the right direction for higher education, President Grant praised the state appropriation for fiscal year 2013, but expressed discontent with funding still on 2002 levels.
An open meeting held Tuesday afternoon in Sullivan Lounge outlined the state’s budget process, how the campus budget is made, and projects going on around campus.
State funding for the institution has been a roller coaster, Stakenas said.
“It’s almost to the penny what we had in 2001,” Stakenas said. “We push higher education as being an investment, not a liability,” he said. “We’re just barely holding our own here.”
“We’re very careful about student fee increases,” Grant said. “We want to work hard to keep the College affordable.”
Despite budget cuts, Grant said, the College continues to move forward. Construction on the Science Center’s foundation is finishing up, and the College has organized other building projects and departmental moves this year.
“The Smith House was not well utilized,” Grant said, adding that having Admissions next to a construction site wasn’t a good introduction to the College.”
Another priority was the Center for Student Success and Engagement (CSSE), an initiative that brought together Advising, Learning, and Career Services. Until recently, Grant said, these were in different locations.
“One idea was using the renovated Bowman, but that was a couple of years off,” she explained. “We didn’t want to wait that long.”
The third floor of Eldridge was chosen because of its proximity to the center of campus, and the freeing up of space when the President’s office moved.
More work is being done in the bottom floor of Freel Library, since space was gained by Learning Services’ move.
Work also continues on the renovation of the Shapiro Warehouse on Ashland Street. Upon completion, the building will house the entire Facilities department. Part of the building was torn down last year to make way for 98 additional parking spots. “This was important because we lost about that many spaces with the Science Center site.”
“It will be a nice facility, it will be nice and new on the inside,” Stakenas said, adding a contract was signed this week to tear down interior offices. “When it’s completed, we’ll have taken storage items out of basements and corners of this campus and moved them into one space,” he said.
Bowman Hall will be closed in the fall of 2013 for a year for renovations, Stakenas said.
Grant said the façade of the building would stay the same, but the interior would be much different. A vestibule would be added to the front, something that Grant said would keep leaves out of the lobby. The lobby would be redesigned to take advantage of the space, and the colored windows will be replaced to take advantage of natural light.