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 SRU trustees approve $2.5 million renovations for North Hall 




December 12, 2008

Contact: K.E. Schwab  



Editor's Note: Photo available CLICK HERE (cutlines at bottom of story) 


SRU trustees approve $2.5 million renovations for North Hall


SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Slippery Rock University's Council of Trustees today authorized $2.5 million in renovations to North Hall, the oldest campus residence hall.

           The project will be funded through a Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education bond financing plan and University auxiliary services reserves. Bonds will be retired thorough standard residence hall fees.

           The renovations, planned for summer, will include installation of air conditioning and an elevator that will bring the building into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

           Until this year, the 87,033-square-foot, three story building constructed in 1938, had served as a women-only residence hall. However, due to demand for University housing, a portion of the building was converted to co-ed living at the beginning of fall semester.

           "These renovations are long overdue," said Constance Foley, vice president for student life. "This is a beautiful, stately campus building rich in tradition. Residents are clearly proud to call North Hall their home. We wanted to ensure that it provides the equivalent quality of residence hall living offered in our new suite-style residence halls. We think North Hall residents will enjoy the upgrades."

           Trustees also approved giving $20,000 to the Slippery Rock Volunteer Fire Department in appreciation of the services they provide to the University. The funds are to be share with the department's rescue squad. Ken Harley, president, Albert Taggart, vice president and Puddie Taggart all from the Slippery Rock department were on hand to accept the contribution. Trustees also authorized a $2,000 donation to be split between the Sandy Lake and Stoneboro volunteer fire departments. With this year's contributions, SRU has donated more than $421,000 to the SRVFD and nearly $11,000 to the Sandy Lake/Stoneboro departments.

           SRU has contributed to the local fire department since 1977 and to the regional departments since 1995 following passage of state legislation that permitted such support because the departments provide fire and rescue protection to the campus and its facilities.

           "We realize the important role these departments play in the safety of our campus and our facilities at Sandy Lake," said Robert Smith, SRU president. "We are grateful for their continued efforts, and we are proud that some of our students volunteer as firefighters to serve with the Slippery Rock department."

           Trustees were presented a report from ParenteRandolph, certified public accountings, showing the University's financial accounting presented no misstatements. SRU has received an unqualified audit for every audit conducted since the program was initiated in 1986.

           In a related item, trustees presented Charles Curry, vice president for finance and administrative affairs, a resolution honoring his achievements. Curry joined the University in 1986 as assistant vice president for finance and became vice president in 1989. The resolution cited Curry for his "leadership in the accounting, facilities, purchasing, contracts and human resources areas." It stated that under his leadership, "The "University has consistently received unqualified audits as confirmation of the highest professional standards." Minority Opinion Magazine recently honored Curry with a Minority Achievement Award for his outstanding contributions to his profession.

           In remarks to the trustees, President Smith outlined the University's plan for weathering the current national and state economic difficulties. He told trustees that Gov. Edward Rendell had requested the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education return 4.25 percent of the state's allocation. "That amounts to $1,700,879 for SRU. We have been asked to identify another 3 percent in the event the shortfall deepens. That second amount is $1,200,621, for a total of $2,901,500," Smith said.

           "The positive view of these cuts is that we are not cutting mission-critical services, classes, or our high-priority capital projects," Smith said. He said some projects would be moved off the fast track, "and some success will depend on some people absorbing additional workloads." Letters outlining the University's plan, and its focus on academics, were sent to faculty, staff, students and parents of newly applying students, "so they will know that we are not going to sacrifice the quality of a Slippery Rock University education," Smith said.

           "Our faculty will remain with more than 90 percent full time teaching professors without us using any graduate students or hiring less-qualified adjunct faculty to staff lecture halls. We are proud that 91 percent of our faculty have earned the highest degree within their field while the remainder has specialist credentials critical to teaching within their discipline. We are passionate about assuring quality of instruction."

           Smith reported that SRU programs continue to earn accolades. The College of Education continued its 53-year tradition of being awarded accreditation by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. The SRU program is one of only 20 of the 95 teacher preparation institutions in Pennsylvania to earn NCATE accreditation. In addition, SRU's Storm Harbor Equestrian Center is the only university-based equestrian center in Pennsylvania to receive a premier center accreditation from the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association. Each week the facility provides therapeutic horseback riding to more than 55 community children and adults with disabilities, Smith said. 

           A three-year $850,000 contract to SRU from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Disability as part of the University's "I Can Do It, You Can Do It" mentoring program drew Smith's attention. "This program, headed by Robert Arnhold, professor of exercise and rehabilitative sciences, was selected to be the national role model for launching nine new 'I Can Do It' programs at schools and community centers across the country. SRU was the only university in the country that was asked to help launch new programs. The University was selected from a national pool of applicants, and I believe this is a program of which we can be especially proud," Smith said.

           Smith said work was under way on the new $1.6 million intramural sports complex at the eastern edge of campus. The facility, which includes six lighted fields, is expected to be ready for intramural activities next fall.  

           In routine action, trustees approved the contracts, fixed assets, and service and supply purchase orders reports. Trustees were told of the appointment of 75 new faculty and staff.

           Retirements announced included: Sue Shuttleworth, 33-year assistant professor of music; Carol Dickey, 32-year clerk typist 2 in the Institute for Community, Service-Learning and Nonprofit Leadership; Sandra Snyder, 18-year custodial worker 2 in facilities and planning; and Sandra Wakefield, 10-year clerk typist in the Office of Academic Records and Summer School.

           Council's next meeting will be Feb. 27.


THANKS FOR THE HELP: Slippery Rock University presented a $20,000 check to representatives of the Slippery Rock Volunteer Fire Department as thanks for fire and rescue service volunteers provide to the campus. Passing the check are (from left), Robert Smith, SRU president, Robert Taylor, chair of the SRU Council of Trustees, Ken Harley, president of the SRVFD, Albert Taggert, vice president, and Puddie Taggert, a firefighter. Since 1977, the University has contributed $421,000 to the department. Trustees also approved a donation of $2,000 to the Sandy Lake and Stoneboro volunteer departments, which provide fire protection service to SRU's  McKeever Environmental Learning Center in Sandy Lake.


Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.



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