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 SRU trustees approve new use for Patterson Hall; seek state OK 



March 9, 2007
Contact: K.E. Schwab  -- 724-738-2199


SRU trustees approve new use for Patterson Hall; seek state OK       

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - If state officials agree, Slippery Rock University's Patterson Hall, a campus residence hall slated for demolition, will instead be renovated as transitional faculty and staff offices and space for science departments following plans approved today by the University's Council of Trustees.

           The renovation plan now goes before the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education board of governors for final approval.

           In addition to providing classroom and office space for a number of the University's science departments, the plan calls for the 62,886-square-foot building, built in 1958, to be used as a temporary facility for a number of departments currently housed in Vincent Science Hall as that building undergoes $16.6 million in renovations. It is anticipated Vincent renovations will begin in spring of 2008.

           Trustees were told Patterson was originally scheduled for demolition as part of the $110-million residence hall replacement project undertaken by the Slippery Rock University Foundation, Inc. Three buildings in the first phase of that project opened last fall. A fourth building will open next fall following a spring ground break as part of phase two construction.

           "One of the advantages of doing this project in phases is that it allows us the opportunity to continuously assess needs. As we saw the need for transitional office space for faculty and staff now in Vincent, we realized Patterson was the perfect choice," said President Robert Smith. "The building is structurally sound and the mechanical system was replaced in 2000. We determined we could undertake the necessary renovations without excessive cost."

           Costs are projected at $4 million, including a 5,163-square-foot addition. If approved, the project will be financed through a standard Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education capital finance plan. Approval could come at the board of governors' April meeting in Harrisburg

           Smith covered four major topics in his report to trustees highlighting the University's work in energy savings undertakings and noting reception of Silver LEED certification for the Regional Learning Alliance building in Cranberry Township, now the only Marshall Township building certified as environmentally "Green." "LEED certification is a goal we have now set for all of our new construction on campus," Smith said. The RLA project was conceived and implemented by SRU.

           The president told trustees of the newly installed solar and wind turbine systems to generate electricity at the Robert A. Macoskey Center for Sustainable Systems Education and Research and plans for a geothermal well that will showcase yet another alternative energy source. He said recent implementation of "deep sleep" mode on more than 2,000 campus computers was expected to result in $27,000 in annual energy savings.

           "The intent of some of these efforts is not only to realize financial savings, but to establish the University as a leader in environmental work and energy research," Smith said. 

           Trustees were told strategic planning remains on track, enrollment remains strong and that budget preparations for the coming academic year appear positive, but must await union contract finalizations. 

           Resolutions honoring the outstanding service of Kenneth B. Blair and Orvan B. Peterson, both two-term trustees whose terms have expired, were approved. Both joined the council by governor's appointment in 1995 and both served as vice chair and chair of the council during their terms. (See separate news release for details). Gov. Edward Rendell has submitted replacement names to the Pennsylvania Senate for approval. That approval is expected before council's next regular quarterly session. 

           Trustees voted to authorize a 5 percent increase in University-owned residence hall fees for the 2007-08 academic year. The increase does not apply to room fees in the new, foundation-owned residence halls. Approval was also granted for a 3.16 percent increase in dining service fees. The increase is tied to the current consumer price index as allowed in the University's contract with AVI Food Systems, the campus contract food vendor. The increase applies to all meal plans offered in SRU dining facilities.

           A formal vote, as required by the board of governors, confirmed that the Slippery Rock University Foundation, Inc., and the SRU Alumni Association both make financial contributions to the University on a regular basis meeting the board's requirement that system universities have auxiliary funding sources.

           In routine action, council approved contracts, fixed assets, and service and supply purchase orders reports as presented.

           Council agreed to submit a capital budget request totaling $60-million for 2007-08 to the state system governors. The request seeks $36.2 million for construction of a Performing Arts Center as the top priority and $23.9 million for Morrow Field House renovations. The submission will be considered as part of the state system's overall request to the governor in preparation of next year's state budget.

           Trustees were told of 24 instructional appointments, two substitute instructional appointments and numerous non-faculty hirings.

           The retirements of Charlene Twentier, 28-year coordinator in residence life, Robert Christy, 33-year officer in University Police and current acting director, and John Resek, 10-year maintenance repairman 2 in facilities and planning, were announced. 

           Diana Dreyer, 27-year professor of English who retired in January, and Francis Manfredi, 36-year assistant professor of special education who retired in 2005, were granted professor emeritus status.

           Council's next session is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. June 15.


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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