SRU trustees officially reopen Strain Safety Building, approve 2019-20 budget


Trustee Lautman addresses the Concil of trustees

Matt Lautman, a Slippery Rock University trustee, delivered the Advancement Committee report during the Sept. 27 quarterly business meeting.

Sept. 27, 2019

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. — Slippery Rock University's council of trustees and President William Behre officially reopened the Strain Safety Building at a special ceremony at the MSA Construction Lab, Room 113-113A SSB today prior to their quarterly business meeting.

The ceremony honored donors for their contributions to the SRU safety management program and building renovations. Among those recognized were MSA, FirstEnergy, Miller/Honeywell, Fire Fighter, 70E Solutions and Kokosing.

The ceremony brought a celebratory "closing" to the SSB's $7.5-million renovation that began in 2017. Improvements and updates include new air conditioning, windows, restrooms, faculty offices, student study spaces, ROTC student lounge, student art gallery, construction/general industry safety labs, improved industrial hygiene and emergency preparedness/fire safety labs and updated classrooms. Additional external work, including the replacement of mortar joints, was completed during the summer to avoid disturbing classes.

Built in 1938 at a cost of $222,000, SSB was first known as Science Hall and housed the Physical and Chemical Science Departments. In 1979, when it was then known as the Behavioral Science Building, the facility was renamed in honor of Warren Strain, the former chair of the Geography Department. In 2017, the building was renamed Strain Safety Building to reflect it now housing SRU's Safety Management Department and academic programs.

The Safety Management Department offers students a hands-on, practical and applied bachelor of science degree in safety management that is designed to develop their competencies for jobs in safety programs in educational, governmental, private business and industrial enterprises. Safety laboratory courses housed in SSB follow the recommendation of both the National Science Teachers Association and Laboratory Safety Institute.

In other business, the council approved the University's 2019-20 budget; contracts, fixed assets and service and supply purchase orders; the University's order of succession; dues for Pennsylvania Association of Councils of Trustees membership; and Behre's annual performance review.

Through standing committee reports, the trustees:
• Received a presentation from Amanda Yale, chief enrollment officer, regarding the University's 15-day enrollment numbers. See related story here.
• Received an update on the University's 2021 reaffirmation of accreditation with the Middle States Commission on Higher Education from Mary Hennessey, assistant to the provost. Follow SRU's MSCHE work here.
• Received an overview of the University's budget, long-range financial planning and tuition pricing study.
• Reviewed advancement and foundation operations; the facilities and planning project list; reviewed contracts, fixed assets and service and supply purchase orders; the quarterly financial report; and personnel appointments.
• Reviewed the University calendar and trustee bylaws.
• Received a report from Behre and Ed Bucha, executive director of the SRU Foundation, Inc. regarding the status of the University's major fundraising campaign; while Behre, Bucha and Samantha Swift, director of development for SRU Foundation, Inc. discussed the creation of comprehensive fundraising and gift acceptance policies.
• Learned from Amir Mohammadi, SRU senior vice president for administration, global engagement and economic development and interim vice president for advancement, that the search committee for the vice president for University advancement will conduct web-based interviews with a pool of nine candidates Sept. 30.
• Heard from Jeff Smith, chair of the trustees and president of the Pennsylvania Association of Councils of Trustees, an update on PACT's approach to trustee accountability including a revised position description, statement of commitment and self-assessment.

The council's next meeting is Dec. 12-13.

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