Master Plan approved at Board of Governors meeting

Marshall University’s Board of Governors last week unanimously approved its 10-year campus master plan, which provides a roadmap for future development and investment in Marshall properties.

President Stephen J. Kopp said he was pleased with the recommendations, which he called fiscally responsible. “The emphasis of the plan is on flexible and adaptive reinvestment – reinvesting, improving, and where needed, expanding current facilities and infrastructure to better serve our students and campus community.” he said.

Mary Jukuri, principal with SmithGroup JJR, the consulting firm hired by Marshall to prepare the plan, summarized the extensive report, which took more than a year of collaboration with Marshall officials and community members to complete. Board members received a preliminary report in April.

“The purpose of our plan goes beyond the state’s requirement for all public universities to have a 10-year master plan,” Jukuri said. “A campus master plan is about creating a flexible framework for future development and reinvestment in existing properties. This is a very comprehensive master plan that covers all Marshall campuses.”

Jukuri said SmithGroup considered current construction under way, the financial resources available to Marshall today and evaluated enrollment projections for the next 10 years and beyond. The plan focuses on improving existing infrastructure and upgrades in technology, student housing and student life, as well as enhancements to pedestrian transportation, open space and signage. The plan proposes renovation of about 1.1 million gross square feet of existing facilities, out of a total of 4.25 million gross square feet in the university’s building inventory.

While the 2013 Campus Master Plan is an entirely new report, it does build on results from the 2003 plan, as well as the 2008 update of that plan. The 2013 plan includes input from an extensive outreach program that included town hall meetings and an interactive website open to the public.

In other business:

  •  Dr. Karen Kirtley, senior vice president for administration, gave an update on construction projects. She said the Indoor Practice Facility is 29 percent complete; the Arthur Weisberg Family Applied Engineering Complex is 53 percent complete; the Visual Arts Center in downtown Huntington is 61 percent complete, and the addition of an elevator at the Joseph M. Gillette Welcome Center is 61 percent complete.
  • Mary Ellen Heuton, Marshall’s Chief Financial Officer, said 2013 state legislation has allowed MU to increase its investment authority from $30 million to $60 million. She said for now, funding will be divided into long-term, mid-term and short-term investments, which will allow Marshall to easily access the reserve money should it be needed as the university faces a more challenging state economy.
  • John Sutherland, Executive Director of the Big Green athletic booster organization, explained the reseating and reparking program that is currently under way in athletics. Sutherland said it has been 22 years since a reseating program was put in place (when  Marshall moved out of Fairfield Stadium and into Joan C. Edwards Stadium), and that it should be done every 5-7 years.
  • And, the board congratulated Athletic Director Mike Hamrick on a successful legislative audit and the December 27th Military Bowl in which the Thundering Herd will play Maryland.