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Trustees Award Contract for Renovations

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EWI, Inc. of Russellville submitted the low bid of $388,600 and will perform a renovation to the Energy Center at Arkansas Tech University following approval by the Arkansas Tech Board of Trustees on Thursday. Trustees awarded a construction contract that will yield new television and radio studios for students involved in broadcast journalism at Arkansas Tech.

The renovation of the 2,400-square foot space is scheduled to be completed on Aug. 15 so that students and faculty can utilize the new studios during the fall 2012 semester.

Radio broadcasting from the Arkansas Tech campus dates back 65 years. Williamson Hall was the original home of studios for KXRJ-AM, which made its debut in February 1947. The KXRJ-AM studios remained on the Tech campus until 1957.

KXRJ made its return to Arkansas Tech as a non-commercial FM station in April 1989 with studios in Witherspoon Hall. The student-operated station has broadcast a mix of classical music, jazz, progressive rock and public affairs programming from that location over 91.9 FM for the past 23 years. With the renovation to the Energy Center, the studios of KXRJ will be located in the same facility as the studios for Tech TV. The first televised news broadcasts from the Arkansas Tech campus appeared in February 1974. Since 1987, student-produced television news programs originating from studios in Crabaugh Hall have been made available to cable subscribers in the surrounding communities. In other action on Thursday, the Arkansas Tech Board of Trustees approved:

*a proposal to begin accepting bids from construction firms for the renovation of Tech Field, the baseball facility at Arkansas Tech, and to issue revenue bonds in the amount of $1.5 million to fund the project;

*refinancing five revenue bond issues, an action which will save the university an estimated $2.715 million in debt service;

*a request that will be forwarded to the Arkansas Department of Higher Education and the Arkansas Legislative Council to add six new full-time faculty positions, 13 new non-classified staff positions and two new classified staff positions on the Russellville campus;

*the purchase of a 3,000-square foot building with nine offices and a 1,500-square foot heated and cooled metal storage building located at 702 4th Street in Russellville at a cost of $167,000, with funds coming from the unappropriated educational and general fund balance;

*a transfer of $55,176 from the unappropriated educational and general fund balance to pay for an upgrade to the plumbing infrastructure at Arkansas Tech-Ozark Campus. In personnel-related items, the Arkansas Tech Board of Trustees approved the hiring of:

*Tiffani Everett (assistant professor of sociology), Merlin Mann (associate professor of journalism), Sean Scot Reed (assistant professor of music) and Pam Dixon (assistant professor of school counseling and leadership) as full-time faculty members for the 2012-13 academic year;

*Aaron Jones as coordinator of alumni communications and activities, effective April 1;

*Matt Kitchens as assistant football coach, effective March 1.

Trustees approved the promotion of the following individuals:

*Dr. James R. Musser to head of the Arkansas Tech Department of Physical Sciences, effective July 1 after he served in that capacity in an interim role during the 2011-12 academic year;

*Jo Nixon to defensive coordinator for the Arkansas Tech football program, effective March 1.

Trustees accepted the resignations of:

*Cass Capen-Housley, interim director of the Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center regional office at Arkansas Tech, effective March 2;

*Lance Greathouse, member of the paramedic workforce education faculty at Arkansas Tech-Ozark Campus, effective May 12;

*David Straley, member of the viticulture and enology workforce education faculty at Arkansas Tech-Ozark Campus, effective May 12.

Trustees accepted the retirements of:

*Dr. Eldon Clary, dean of the Arkansas Tech College of Education and a member of the Tech faculty since 1967, effective June 30.

*Beth Foster, director of the Arkansas Tech Purchasing Department and a member of the Tech staff for the past 40 years, effective June 30;

*Kathy Pierce, institutional assistant to the vice president for student services and university relations at Arkansas Tech and a member of the Tech staff for the past 16 years, effective March 30.

*Deborah Barnhouse, drafting instructor at the Arkansas Tech Career Center in Russellville, effective June 7.