The Eastern Kentucky Board of Regents met for their first meeting of the year at Berry Hill Mansion on Wednesday, Feb. 15. 

On Wednesday, Feb. 15, the Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) Board of Regents met for their first meeting of the Spring 2023 semester. The meeting included discussion of continued construction on Alumni Coliseum, a new Student Government Association (SGA) constitution, and a recognition of Faculty Senate Chair Richard Crosby. 

The meeting took place in the Berry Hill Mansion in Frankfort and began with the annual election of the Board of Regents chair. The current chair, Michael Eaves, was reelected.

Construction Update, Alumni Coliseum Project

Vice President and Director of Athletics Matt Roan gave an update on construction of the Alumni Coliseum project. Roan explained that the university will continue working with policy makers to close any funding gaps left by inflation. 

As of Friday, Feb.10, plans for the Alumni Coliseum Project received schematic design confirmation from the state, beginning the process of budget verification. 

“It’s to see if what we have come up with, what we’ve designed, is actually what we could buy,” said Roan.

Instead of a single phase construction plan, Roan explained the Alumni Coliseum project will, with the assistance of policymakers, enter a phase one and two construction plan. During phase one, Alumni Coliseum will see the construction of various private suites, new seating options, programming spaces and various other updates. 

“The construction timeline is ongoing,” said Roan. 

Alumni Coliseum doors are currently locked to the public due to hazardous materials throughout the building, and students that are not associated with athletic  programming may not enter. 

New roof installation is also expected to begin this summer, and the purchasing of  items with long acquisition times necessary for the facility is expected to begin in September 2023. This will allow construction for phase one to begin in March 2024 and continue into December 2024. 

Summer 2022 plans projected construction to begin in March 2023;  however due to 40-50 week waiting estimates for materials, Roan said he would rather purchase the items before beginning construction. Roan explained this change allows the 2023 and 2024 athletic year to remain unaffected. 

“This felt like, not only was it the right thing from a fan experience standpoint, but it is the most fiscally responsible thing to do as well,” said Roan.

Assuming phase two receives funding, it will include administrative offices, an academic center and an auxiliary gym.

Financial Update

EKU Vice President and Treasurer Barry Poynter gave a financial update comparing Jan. 31, 2022 to Jan. 31, 2023. Education and General funds in the budget have experienced an increase, said Poynter. Auxiliary funds are behind due to the Mattox Hall transfer from EKU Housing. Revenue is up due to overall enrollment increases and a slight increase in tuition costs. 

Academic Affairs

Sara Zeigler, EKU provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, gave a presentation on upcoming events, people and opportunities on campus including the grand reopening of the Giles Gallery; the new EKU Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) programs; the Colonels at the Capitol Internship Program; the 2023 Professional Golfer’s Association Show in Orlando; the Provost’s Internship Program; the Center for STEM Excellence; College of Health Sciences and Honors Program; and Education Abroad: Spin the Wheel. 

Additional Reports

Chair of Faculty Senate Richard Crosby explained that the Faculty Senate is in a healthy place. Another survey coming from the Faculty Welfare Committee will be sent to both part-time and full-time university faculty. Crosby also said this will be his last report, as he will be retiring next year.

Caelin Scott, staff council chair, said that in place of their regularly scheduled meeting, the Staff Council hosted a retreat to help orient new members and provide team building opportunities.

Paige Murphy, Student Government Association (SGA) president, praised the E3 program which aided in organizing events such as concerts, Midnight Breakfast, Homecoming, basketball games and football games. 

Murphy also explained that SGA is working on creating a Mental Health Week for students in order to display mental health resources available on campus. 

EKU President David McFaddin summarized the new Manufacturing Engineering Program announced on Feb. 14 and the effects this degree may have on Kentucky. 

McFaddin explained that EKU has become the first public university to offer Option 9 Alternative Route, an opportunity to gain a teaching certificate while working a non teaching job in any participating school district.

McFaddin said spring commencement ceremonies will take place outside in Roy Kidd Stadium with two ceremonies, one at 9 a.m. and the other at 6 p.m. 

“We have had an outstanding team of individuals working on every contingency possible,” said McFaddin. “We will do our best to make it a fun and pleasant experience.” 

McFaddin also said that enrollment is up, and he expects 3,000 freshmen to enroll for the 2023-2024 school year. 

Board of Regents Chair Michael Eaves said that Governor Andy Beshear is also the co-chair of the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) and will be choosing a city to host the ARC Convention for the upcoming year. Richmond is one of five cities in the running, and EKU will begin the interview process on Feb. 16. 

Action Items

The board approved the following items:

  • Minutes for the Full Board Meeting on Dec. 1, 2022

  • Minutes for the Special Meeting of the Ad Hoc Committee on Governance and Evaluation on Dec. 1, 2022.

  • Personnel Actions

  • Degree Candidates for Spring 2023

  • Six-Year Plan by President David McFaddin

  • Real Property Acquisition by WEKU

While reviewing the Board of Regents self-evaluation, Board of Regents Member Laura Babbage suggested that, moving forward, the Board of Regents consider evaluation by a third party instead of the usual self-evaluation. 

New Business

EKU will be demolishing three structures including what is commonly referred to as the “crime scene house” which allows students in the forensic science program to obtain hands-on crime scene experience.  McFaddin said an alternative location closer to campus will be used for this purpose. 

“These three properties have outlived their useful life,” said McFaddin. 

The properties will still be under EKU ownership and will be turned into green space. 

SGA also proposed a new constitution that will take effect on May 1, 2023. The constitution was ratified by SGA on Feb. 14 and approved by the Board of Regents on Feb. 15. 

The meeting concluded with a send off to Faculty Senate Chairman Crosby by McFaddin.

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