Governors approve recreation center location

A conceptual drawing of the approved recreation center as seen from the north side of the Billingsly Student Center.

A conceptual drawing of the approved recreation center as seen from the north side of the Billingsly Student Center.

Nate Billings

Several pressing issues presented themselves before the Board of Governors during its March 30 meeting.

A location and the continuation of the health and recreation center were also brought before the Board by Jack Patton with RDG Planning and Design.

The location Patton proposed to be the most cost effective site was to build onto the northwestern side of the Billingsly Student Center.

The proposal was based on the needs represented by students in the rec center surveys and comparisons to similar facilities on other campuses, specifically the center at the University of Tulsa.

“It is a very compelling building and we can achieve occupancy by fall 2007,” Patton said.

Patton proposed an estimated budget of $11 million. This cost would be fulfilled by fund-raisers and student fees.

Patton brought sketches of the proposed facilities, which include an upper-level running track and several workout areas on the bottom floor.

Amber Hemphill, student representative to the Board, said she enjoyed the presentation.

“I love the conceptual drawings,” she said. “I think there will be more students involved.”

The proposed fees would be $116 per semester per student with $2 million in fund-raisings. Or, the fees would be as high as $133 per semester with $1.5 million in fund-raisings and part-time students only paying half of the fee.

Hemphill agreed the fees were necessary, but thought part-time students should pay the full fee.

“But, I’m liking what I’m seeing,” she said. “Fee increases won’t be felt because financial aid will take care of it, but over $130 would be too much.”

University President Julio León said he thought the presentation was good as well.

“We put an emphasis on keeping the cost of education as low as possible,” he said. “It is a lot to decide if it is worthwhile for students.”

León said the ability for the campus to retain students would be increased by building the rec center.

Board president Dwight Douglas said he agreed.

“I have no doubts anymore,” Douglas said.

León said new buildings on campus were inevitable and compared the rec center to Leggett & Platt Athletic Center.

“If it (Leggett & Platt) weren’t there, it wouldn’t be the same today,” he said.

The Board agreed and passed a motion to allow the firm to compile conceptual drawings and a plan for building the center.

The Governors heard from several faculty and outside consultants concerning the renewing of Missouri Southern’s information mainframe and the request to go ahead and create conceptional drawings of the possible health and recreation center.

Registrar Sandi Gieson and Jeff Gibson, the budget director for the Administrations committee, brought to the Board plans to upgrade the 30-year-old computer mainframe.

Gibson said the mainframe has become outdated and servicing the parts is becoming more difficult as the computer grows older.

“We are addressing a matter that is important to the integration of our software and technology systems,” Gibson said.

The out-dated mainframe is also a problem because many of the services on campus take in information in separate systems, making a single access point difficult. With a new server, the systems could be combined to allow more stability while accessing campus-wide information such as names, schedules, addresses and web pages.

For more information, the committee consulted similar needs within other Southern partnerships and compared them to what Southern needed.

“We can make a stronger position to work with these partnerships and expect as good or better systems,” Gieson said. “We must have current technology.”

Gibson said based on the comparisons and needs of other institutions in the state, the new server system would cost $3-3.5 million for installation and maintenance over several years.

The committee proposed to the Board a recommendation to send out proposals for offers for the server and begin a plan to select a partner in the project to implement the idea.

The Board agreed with the arguments and passed the motion to proceed.

Also during the meeting:

* The Board considered a bond refinancing through George K. Baum associates with its representative Greg Bricker.

* Dr. Richard McCallum, vice-president of academic affairs, updated the Board on the progress of the new graduate degrees. He said the classes were going well and the partnership with Southwest Missouri State University was to begin in the summer semester.

* Brian Ward was hired to replace Todd Wash as the assistant football coach and kinesiology instructor. Wash resigned earlier this year.

* Dr. Philip Wise, professor of music, resigned his position as department head to go back to instructing.

Bud Clark was appointed to replace Wise.