ATU Board Approves $15.5 Million in Improvements

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Arkansas Tech University adopted a capital improvement program project list and methods of finance associated with $15.5 million in enhancements to university facilities and equipment following approval by the ATU Board of Trustees during its meeting on Thursday, Dec. 14.

The full project list includes $12,068,262 in educational and general projects and $3,457,500 in auxiliary projects (student housing and athletics).

Improvements that will be funded by the $3.7 million in educational and general funds the university saved by reducing the square footage of its forthcoming student union and recreation center are:

*cosmetic renovations in McEver Hall ($840,000), Witherspoon Hall ($960,000) and University Commons ($550,000) on the Russellville campus and the Technology and Academic Support Building ($144,000) at ATU-Ozark Campus;

*replacement of two ATU Department of Public Safety patrol vehicles ($115,044) and a forklift ($65,000);

*and parking lot repairs at the Chartwells Women’s Sports Complex ($420,000) on the Russellville campus and at ATU-Ozark Campus ($600,000).

Improvements that will be funded by the ATU Foundation as part of investment funds in trust for the purpose of maintaining Ross Pendergraft Library and Technology Center are:

*elevator replacement ($387,500) and chiller replacement ($600,000) for Pendergraft Library and Technology Center.

Improvements that will be funded through an internal loan to athletics are:

*a new scoreboard for Simmons Bank Field at Thone Stadium ($750,000) and three new 15-passenger vans ($150,000).

An improvement that will be funded by ATU reserve funds is:

*a new 12-to-15 passenger van for the fisheries and wildlife science program ($50,000).

Improvements that will be funded by the issuance of $9,944,218 in bonds, with bond issuance costs of $455,782 for a total principal investment of $10.4 million, are:

*heating, ventilation and air conditioning infrastructure improvements for the Russellville campus power plant ($5,656,948), Doc Bryan Student Services Building ($1,320,000), Tucker Coliseum ($1,200,000) and Hull Physical Education Building ($1,170,000);

*renovations to the ATU farm shop ($209,770);

*and elevator replacement at Nutt Residence Hall ($387,500).

In other business on Thursday, the ATU Board of Trustees approved:

*naming the forthcoming new student union and recreation center at ATU as the Ferguson Student Union in recognition of Jimmy and Cindi Ferguson of Austin, Texas, and a donation they have made to the ATU Foundation in support of the project;

*an access easement to the City of Russellville on Reasoner Lane for utility, drainage and other city infrastructure upgrades;

*an easement to the City of Russellville for its Prairie Creek channel widening project;

*release of requests for qualifications for on-call engineering and architect services;

*ATU’s 2023 fiscal transparency report;

*the ATU financial statement and audit report for the period ending June 30, 2023, as well as the certification of appropriation and fund balance for submission to the chief fiscal officer of the State of Arkansas and the Arkansas Legislative Council;

*deletion of the ATU Bachelor of Arts degree in world languages Spanish due to insufficient enrollment to sustain the degree;

*academic scholarship tiers that will go into effect in 2025 and are forecast to create potential cost savings for the institution of approximately $1.2 million;

*deletion of the ATU concurrent advantage scholarship at the conclusion of the 2024-2025 academic year;

*and an annual resolution that authorizes expense reimbursement for board members in accordance with Act 1211 of 1995.

In personnel matters, the ATU Board of Trustees approved hiring the following full-time employees:

*Tyler Atkinson, grants and contracts assistant, effective Nov. 1, 2023; Kristen Merritt Beck, assistant dean for career services, effective Jan. 2, 2024; Alexis Bell, administrative specialist III, effective Dec. 1, 2023; Margaret Corbett-Strain, systems programmer, effective Nov. 6, 2023; Ashley Marin, senior designer for marketing, effective Dec. 4, 2023; Kathleen Martin, sponsored programs grant coordinator, effective Nov. 1, 2023; Carla Mitchell, administrative specialist III, effective Oct. 17, 2023; Anna Moore, assistant to the chancellor at ATU-Ozark Campus, effective Dec. 4, 2023; Sarah Nance, administrative specialist III, effective Nov. 8, 2023; Clay Snow, electrician lead, effective Dec. 1, 2023; Victoria Elon Tomlin, coordinator of registrar operations, effective Nov. 16, 2023; Shelby Williams, financial aid specialist, effective Oct. 16, 2023; Elli Young, academic and career counselor at ATU-Ozark Campus, effective Nov. 11, 2023; and Kelly Young, coordinator of athletic video production and live streams, effective Sept. 9, 2023.

The board approved the selections of Dr. Tim Carter (College of Education and Health), Tracy Cole (College of Business and Economic Development), Dr. Sarah Gordon (Graduate College) and Dr. John Jackson (College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) to serve as deans of their respective colleges. All four had been serving as interim deans.

Dr. Michael Bradley, associate professor of recreation and park administration, was approved as head of the ATU Department of Agriculture and Tourism effective Dec. 1, 2023. Bradley served as interim department head during the fall 2023 semester.

Dr. Douglas Barron’s faculty assignment was changed from associate professor of biology to associate professor of wildlife science effective Jan. 1, 2024.

Stacey Cox was promoted from institutional services supervisor to coordinator of housekeeping and Tracy Spence was promoted from business manager to assistant director of budget.

The board accepted resignations from the following ATU employees:

*Mackenzie Bray, records management analyst, effective July 1, 2023; Denise Cundari, administrative specialist III, effective Nov. 17, 2023; Pat Edmunds, director of Arkansas Tech Career Center, effective Jan. 5, 2024; Marc Hall, institutional services assistant, effective Nov. 10, 2023; Tim Land, course management systems manager, effective Oct. 20, 2023; Genevieve Riley, institutional services assistant, effective Nov. 15, 2023; and Sierra Smith, student success coordinator at ATU-Ozark Campus, effective Oct. 27, 2023.