FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 4, 2008
Contact: K.E. Schwab
SRU trustees call for increased energy savings initiatives
SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Slippery Rock University trustees today called for the University to expand its energy savings initiatives by entering into a $4.5 million contract with BCS, a Tonawanda, N.Y.-based energy savings consultant that handles energy savings and deferred maintenance projects.
"Overall, the combined projects could result in an energy and maintenance savings totaling between $175,000 and $200,000 per year," said Scott Albert, director of facilities and planning.
The approved plan, which makes use of the Pennsylvania Guaranteed Energy Savings Act passed by the Pennsylvania Legislature, allows state agencies to enter into agreements with energy consultants which then handle energy savings and deferred maintenance projects. Such projects can range from renovation to a building's lighting system, plumbing upgrades, water conservation projects, heating and cooling system replacements to roof replacement. "All projects will take advantage of the latest energy-saving building materials and control systems," Albert said.
The new energy program has been widely promoted by Gov. Edward Rendell. It is also being considered in light of electricity cost deregulation planned for the coming year. Trustees were told that utility costs represent 3.1 percent of the University's overall budget. Under electric pricing deregulation, the University expects its electrical costs will increase an average of 12 percent over the next two years.
"By entering into this plan, the University improves its stewardship of energy usage and saves money at the same time," Albert said.
The next step will be for the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education to approve SRU's plan. Action is expected at the board's meeting later this month. SRU will then finalize its project list, which is expected to include a roof replacement project for the Pearl K. Stoner Instructional Complex, extensive heating and air-conditioning system upgrades in various campus buildings and other energy-related upgrades. "The list will include about 11 projects," Albert said. The work is expected to be completed by the end of 2009.
In a related item, trustees were given a presentation by student representatives of the Green Fund, a campus grassroots effort to further increase the University's environmental awareness and energy conservation plans. The students have planned a three-day referendum vote next week seeking student support for a "Green Fee."
Academic program request:
Trustees gave formal approval for application to the state system to begin offering a master of science in adapted physical activity at SRU. The University currently offers an adapted physical activity minor. More than 130 students are enrolled. The new master's program, which will be headed by Robert Arnhold, professor of exercise and rehabilitative sciences, is expected to contribute to the economic and social development of Pennsylvania communities, the commonwealth and the nation.
The program will help fill the critical shortage of qualified and prepared professionals that can address the physical activity needs of individuals with disabilities in today's society, Arnhold said.
The program, if approved, will begin classes next fall. The program calls for 30-credit hours, including nine academic classes and a six-credit internship. The program is in SRU's College of Health, Environment and Science.
In his formal report to the council, SRU President Robert M. Smith detailed the recent student vote calling for construction of a new 118,000-square-foot Union. "The new facility will feature three times more dedicated space for student organization offices, meeting rooms and expanded retail operations. A theatre and grand ballroom along with wireless lounges and study areas will be part of the new building," he said.
In the largest election ever at SRU, 2,242 students voted, casting 2,086 votes for construction of a new facility. The ballot allowed for voting for a new building, renovating the current facility or taking no action. The next step is to obtain board of governor's approval to construct the facility. The facility will be paid for through an increase of the University Union Fee.
Smith told trustees the University had already closed freshman enrollment for fall "as of February of this year, our earliest close ever." Registration of fall freshmen began March 29.
Capital budget request
Trustees also agreed to submit the 2008-09 capital budget request to the board of governors calling for $77.8 million in construction projects at the University. Top priority was assigned to a proposed $37.7 million Performing Arts Center, followed by $7.1 million for renovation of McKay Education Building and $33 million for renovation of Bailey Library. The projects are in line with the University's Facilities Master Plan approved by trustees last December.
The art department could soon have a new facility if the board of governors agrees. SRU trustees approved a resolution calling for construction of a 4,500-square-foot Sculpture Studio facility to replace the facility now shared with the University's Power Plant. Trustees were told work under way in renovating the plant is detrimental to classes in the facility. The project's cost is estimated at $900,000.
Approval was given to increase residence hall fees in University-owned facilities by 5 percent across the board for the coming academic year. A 3.97 percent increase in the Dining Services Fee, as called for in the food service contract, was also approved.
Trustees approved an increase for the replacement cost of a lost or damaged parking permit. The $25 fee is equal to the full cost of the original permit. Council also called for owners of vehicles found using a deactivated permit to be charged with theft of service and referral to SRU's Judicial Affairs. In related action, trustees approved a resolution seeking board of governor's approval to increase the cost of a parking violation ticket from $15 to $30 and the cost of not having or displaying a parking permit from $15 to $50.
Veteran educator honored
A special resolution honoring Wilma J. Cavill, who, with 50 years service, is the longest serving member of the faculty, was approved. Cavill, an assistant professor in the health and safety department, joined the faculty in 1958. She has served as teacher, coach and mentor as well as in a variety of leadership posts, including president of the Slippery Rock chapter of the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties. As the senior faculty member, Cavill serves as grand marshal at all formal University academic events.
Council also recognized Scott McCaskey, the student trustee attending his final meeting. McCaskey, from New Castle, will graduate in May. He was credited with being the only student in the state system to be included in board of governor discussions of university budgets.
The president offered a list of accolades earned by students, faculty, staff and alumni, and said Sunday's annual Academic Honors Convocation would recognize 2,500 SRU scholars. "At our May 10 commencement more than 1,200 diplomas will be awarded," he said.
In routine action, council approved a resolution noting that the Slippery Rock University Foundation Inc., and the Slippery Rock University Alumni Association make financial contributions to the University on a regular basis. The resolution is required by the board of governors.
The contracts, fixed assets and service and supply purchase orders reports were accepted, and trustees were told of 73 new appointments.
The independent auditor's report, prepared by ParenteRandolph, for the years ending June 30, 2007 and 2006, stated the University's financial position and cash flows conform with generally accepted accounting principles in the U.S. and accurately represent the financial position of the University.
Professor emeritus, retirements
Thomas Gaither, professor of biology, Larry Rotge, associate professor of history, and Michael Stowe, associate professor of social work, criminology and criminal justice, all of whom retired last year, were named professors emeritus. Francis Manfredi, assistant professor of special education, who retired in 2005, and John Sample, professor of psychology, who retired in 1999, were also granted professor emeritus status.
Retirements announced at the meeting included Richard Arthur, professor of communication and Nelson Ng, professor of exercise and rehabilitative services. Both joined the University in 1988 and will retire in May after 20 years of service.
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.