By Ben Kleppinger
Eastern’s newest students gathered in Brock auditorium on Sunday for freshman convocation. But the welcoming ceremony for the newcomers to Eastern wasn’t the only convocation this semester.
Five days earlier, Eastern president Doug Whitlock stood in the same auditorium and shared his vision for Eastern with the university faculty and staff.
Whitlock addressed many issues and changes at Eastern, including student parking, environmental friendliness, car-pooling and on-campus childcare.Residential parking changes
Whitlock said Eastern has removed 51 residential parking spaces along Kit Carson Drive and 14 residential spaces on Park Drive.
In order to compensate for the lost spaces, the Ault lot, located behind Sullivan hall, will be turned into residential parking, Whitlock said.Whitlock was met with applause when he announced the spaces along the roads were removed to make way for the possibility of bicycle lanes.
Construction and environment
Whitlock announced that construction of the new science building and the second phase of the Business and Technology Center had been halted due to lack of funds.The estimated cost of building the second phase of the BTC exceeded available funds by $7 million, Whitlock said. “Given that disconcerting news, the architect.has gone back to the drawing board,” he said. Whitlock said estimates for the new science building exceeded available funds by almost $15 million. “I assure you: legislative funding for.the new science building remains a top priority,” Whitlock said. Whitlock also announced that Eastern’s efforts to reduce its environmental impact and save money were going better than expected. Eastern’s partnership with Siemens Building Technologies, initially expected to save $22 million for Eastern, has now saved $27 million. Whitlock said Eastern is saving $6,500 every day thanks to Siemens. “It’s going to reduce our carbon footprint significantly,” he said.
A new addition to Eastern this semester is a program designed to help members of the Eastern community find and share rides to campus, Whitlock said. The program has been named EKU Rides, and Whitlock said it will allow anyone with a Facebook account to share ride information and find a ride to campus. “The bottom line,” said Whitlock, “is stretching your hard-earned dollar while.helping our environment.”
Whitlock announced that the university was looking into providing on-campus child care for up to 188 children. Child care would be available for children from infancy through preschool, Whitlock said. And offering it on campus would allow almost 1,300 students to observe and practice child care during the school year, he added. Whitlock said the university was still discussing where the child care facility could be located. He said the facility could be expected to cost the university about $400,000 a year.