The Master Plan: JSU's Vision of the Future
By Sherry Kughn
JSU News Bureau
January 30, 2004 -- "A new building would give us a big boost," said Dr. Bo McIntosh, chair of Jacksonville State University's Department of Music. "We could have a concert hall that could seat between nine and twelve thousand, a recital hall for about three hundred, and more studio space."
McIntosh isn't the only person enthused about the vision discussed at the JSU Board of Trustees meeting on Jan. 26. The board got to "see" a future that administrators, faculty, and alumni have created in the form of a wish list -- a draft of a master plan that calls for of new construction projects, endowed faculty positions and scholarship programs.
Presented to the board was a digital slide show of the possible buildings and structures rendered by architect Jay Jenkins of Jenkins Munroe Jenkins Architecture. The firm created the brick and mortar drawings that should take the University through 2025. More than $100 million is needed to fulfill all the items, which seems at first an overwhelming figure. What is feasible; however, is spending between $17.5 million and $21.5 million over a five-year period, said a consultant hired to do a feasibility study.
Jerry Smith, of J.H. Smith Group Inc., an Auburn-based consulting firm, projected that a downsized version of the projects on the University's wish list was within reach. Which items are highest on the list of priorities has not yet been determined, but the music department has long dreamed of moving from the 41-year-old Mason Hall to larger facilities.
University President Bill Meehan expressed in the meeting that a wish list is necessary for the future. He feels dreams should be "as big and as bold as our imaginations will allow."
McIntosh has been dreaming big. He also hopes additional classroom space for the Music Department would allow members of the community an opportunity to get music lessons from JSU students. He said they'd like to add a voice hall capable of hosting an opera, more office space for staff members that he'd like to hire, and more practice rooms for students who now often practice outdoors or on the porch of Mason Hall.
"One wall in the bandroom has a three-inch gap beneath it where the floor has settled," said McIntosh.
Mason Hall cost $485,000 to build. The proposed new music hall is projected to cost about $20 million.
Among the other items on the master plan "wish list" are:
-- An elevator for Bibb Graves Hall
-- Redevelopment of Wallace Hall
-- Stadium home side orientation conversion
-- Field house, baseball stadium, soccer seating
-- Off-campus facilities studies
-- On-campus satellite facilities
-- Improvements for distance learning program
-- Convenient & safe linkage to major campus destinations
-- Conversion of president's home to student info/orientation
-- Construction of new living facilities for president and family
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