SRU trustees approve transfer of McKeever Center


mckeever discovery building

The Discovery Building at the McKeever Environmental Learning Center houses staff offices, a library and a trio of classroom and meeting areas. The SRU council of trustees approved a resolution that would allow the University to initiate the process of transferring management of the center back to the Department of General Services or another appropriate state agency.

June 9, 2017

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - The Slippery Rock University Council of Trustees today approved a resolution authorizing the University to transfer administration of McKeever Environmental Learning Center back to the Pennsylvania Department of Generals Services or other appropriate state agency.

The McKeever Center, located in Sandy Lake, is a 205-acre educational setting providing earth education, student teaching and business retreat opportunities. SRU has served as the administrator of the facility, a public service institute of Pennsylvania's System of Higher Education, since 1986.

"The decision to transfer administration of (McKeever) back to the DGS should not be looked upon as if we are turning our backs on environmental issues," said SRU President Cheryl Norton. "On the contrary, we are consolidating our efforts to better serve our constituencies through the services we already provide - and which we do incredibly well - through the McCoskey Center."

The McCoskey Center has served as SRU's home for hands-on sustainability education and action since 1990. The Center is located on 83 acres, providing education about sustainability through events, workshops and programs; physical demonstration of sustainable technologies and systems; and supporting sustainability-focused academic initiatives and research.

As the activities housed at the McKeever Center primarily serve K-12 students and do not provide credit bearing opportunities to SRU students, administering the center has proved to be a drain on the University's financial resources.

"McKeever's functions simply do not align with SRU's core mission, nor does it operate in a financially sustainable manner due primarily to reductions in state support and declining participation from school districts," Norton said.

"As the operation of the center is not mission critical for the University, we've determined that it would be better served, as it is a public facility, to be managed either by the DGS or other appropriate state agency that could better utilize the property, then asking our students to subsidize the operation of the facility with their tuition dollars.

"In this current financial climate, it is imperative that we ensure our resources and focus is aligned with those activities at the University most directly associated with student success. As part of that, it was determined that in the best interests of all concerned, the University seek to transfer operational management of McKeever back to the DGS or another like agency."

Approval of the resolution by the Council will allow the University to pursue agencies whose missions more closely align with McKeever.

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