The Metro State Board of Trustees voted Wednesday, Dec. 2, to approve the Backfill Project Program Plan submitted by Sean Nesbitt, director of facilities planning and space management.
The $10.3 million project, which is being developed by RNL Design, has seven goals:
• address critical space deficiencies for schools and programs included in the study
• create a net increase in classroom space
• consolidate, where possible, the three schools’ programs as follows: Letters, Arts and Sciences in Central Classroom; Professional Studies in West Classroom; and Business in the Administration Building
• distribute space as equitably as possible between the three schools
• improve spaces through remodel and reconfiguration to increase efficiencies, meet standards and codes
• minimize disruption and cost
• implement green design standards where possible
The project has two phases. The first phase will begin after faculty members currently housed in the Administration Building move back to the Science Building. The second phase is slated to begin when the Student Success Building is completed in three years and most of the College’s administrative offices relocate there.
The plan calls for 149,504 square feet of space at the end of five years. Metro State currently has 106,105 square feet. The additional space will include a projected 35 percent increase in faculty/staff offices. Forty-three new dedicated classrooms and 10 new classrooms created in the backfill will total 8,122 square feet of new classroom space.
The trustees expressed concern as to whether the College was going to pursue LEED Certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Green Building Certification). Representatives from RNL said that this was not possible, as silver or gold certification would require mechanical and electrical upgrades that are not included in the plan.
This question led to a discussion about Auraria’s responsibility for building upgrades. President Stephen Jordan said that it is AHEC that is statutorily responsible for LEED Certification but is limited by a fixed controlled maintenance budget of $10 million. “AHEC has no resources,” he said.
Trustee Rob Cohen suggested that the board draft a letter to the Chair of the Auraria Board of Directors addressing the issues they believe Auraria administration needs to consider during this renovation. Jordan said there is no funding for AHEC and for all state higher education for controlled maintenance and perhaps a letter that would become public record might help spur better state funding.
Provost Vicki Golich gave a brief report on the progress of the General Studies Task Force, its membership and its communication with the faculty. Chair Adele Phelan asked that there be a contingency plan if the faculty were to vote against the plan. In addition, Trustee Antonio Esquibel asked that the diversity of the task force be expanded.
In his report, Jordan told the trustees that the College will be conducting a campus climate survey and that the Faculty Senate will also conduct a climate survey with the faculty. “It’s important to do (the survey) now and to follow up every two years,” he said. (To read more go to climate survey.)
Jordan also updated the board on the master’s programs initiative, reporting that the accountancy and social work programs were on the agenda for the Dec. 3 meeting of the Colorado Commission on Higher Education (see “Accounting and social work master’s degree programs receive approval” in this issue) and that the teacher education program is under review by the Colorado Department of Education.
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