Presidentís Report to the Board of Trustees--April 16, 2001
Houston Cole Library
Evidence that renovation of the libraryís exterior has begun surrounds the building. Golden & Associates Construction Company of Birmingham has mobilized the site, and construction of the new roof structure that will waterproof the building has begun. The total project is projected to take at least 18 months. Removal of the existing white marble and replacement with ďradiant redĒ granite will begin one face at a time. The two faces to be completed first will be west and south, slowly blending the building in color with its brick neighbors.
Internal to the library, the old accordion style partitions have been replaced with new folding panels that form better sound proofing and fit into the alcoves built on each side.
McGee Hall is complete and has been open for laboratory science classes since early this semester. The building is as functional as it is attractive. Thanks to efforts of the faculty in the Biology Department, the building will have a scanning electron microscope which will be funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation.
The renovation is approximately 87% complete. Completion is scheduled for July which, if met, will allow time to begin classes in Fall 2001.
Roof Replacement for the athletic Field House has been awarded to Simco Construction, Birmingham, AL and work is in progress.
Chief Ladiga Trail
The rails and trails project through campus specifications and drawings have been submitted to the State Department of Transportation by the architect.
Joe Ford Economic Development Center
Our joint project with Gadsden State Community College is approximately 34% complete. The Alabama House of Representatives has approved an additional appropriation of $100,000 for the facility in its proposed 2002 budget.
Renovation of the cafeteria to a more contemporary and attractive food court began earlier this month. This is a joint venture between JSU and Sodexho Food Services. The contract was awarded to Trinity Contractors, Birmingham, AL. Renovations will be complete before the end of July.
Enrollment and Housing
The universityís faculty, staff and students held its Preview Days on Saturday, February 10th and March 17th, registering 411 new freshman and transfer students for Fall 2001. These sessions feature academic programs, student organizations, and tours of campus giving prospective students the opportunity to register for classes early.
Applications Accepted for Fall 2001--Freshman and transfer students currently exceed last yearís totals at the date of April 11 by 364. I am very appreciative of the hard work completed by our Enrollment Management Committee and our Admissions Office.
Occupancy in University Housing exceeds last years at approximately the same time with 1103 students in ten residence halls.
Due to the fast action of students in Dixon Hall, University Police, Housing, Physical Plant staff and the Jacksonville City Fire Department, a tragedy was averted when an early morning fire destroyed a room at Dixon Hall. Fortunately, good construction and fast action on the part of those responding prevented the loss of any life and what could have been an even larger property loss.
On a much happier note, I am pleased to announce a gift of property and cash totaling $500,00 from Mr. Earlon McWhorter. The gift is Jax Apartment complex--a 40 unit facility adjacent to campus. Mr. McWhorter owned 85% of the property and donated his portion this year following Mr. Kennamerís gift of 15% last year. This apartment complex will make a nice addition to the Universityís Housing. Mr. McWhorterís cash gift of $100,500 will fund a scholarship for students and recognition of outstanding faculty.
Wallace Bookstores Inc., has declared bankruptcy. The company had a lease on JSUís bookstore. In order to maintain services to our students, an option to cancel the lease was exercised and the University is now operating the bookstore.
The same personnel will run the store next year, and the hours of the bookstore will remain the same.
Proration has captured the spotlight of government affairs since the Governorís declaration at 6.2% in February. The University responded by immediately, reducing its appropriation by $1.8 million. Each division--Academics, Student Affairs, Athletics, and Business Affairs--was reduced by 3%, and reserves were reduced to produce the remaining 3.2%. This was extremely painful as this yearís appropriation represented a 5.2% increase. With proration at 6.2%, JSU lost a full percentage point ($289,886) more than it gained in its new budget.
JSU joined other universities in the lawsuit to determine the essentiality of K-12 and higher education with regard to the Alabama Constitution. Upon appeal to the Alabama Supreme Court, the issues surrounding whether higher education can be cut at a greater percentage than K-12 may eventually decide this yearís budget.
The 2002 budget, which has passed the Alabama House of Representatives, brings JSU to within 3% less than the amount that was appropriated to JSU at the beginning of this fiscal year. We appreciate the Governorís efforts to restore funding for next year. We look forward to working with the Governor and the legislature to resolve the proration crisis for the current year.
TRIBUTE TO DR. WATTS
Dr. David Watts has been Vice President for Academic Affairs, and later Student Affairs, since 1993. Dr. Watts has been named the next President at the University of Texas in the Permian Basin. He will take office later this summer and will be greatly missed. I have had the pleasure of working for Dr. Watts as well as working with him. He is eminently qualified to be a university president and will do an outstanding job for the University of Texas. This may be his last Board meeting unless I can convince him to stay, so it will be appropriate for us to thank him for his eight years of service to Jacksonville State University.
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