BOT considers cuts, new facilities

Severe budget cuts, campus makeovers and an increase in student housing fees were on the menu for Thursday?s USF Board of Trustees meeting at the St. Petersburg campus.

University President Judy Genshaft assured all BOT members that budget cuts would not be taken from instruction or library funding but rather administrative and non-academic services.

All state universities have been asked to make similar cuts, Genshaft said, indicating that the dollar amount figured to be just over $1.3 million this year and $1.5 million next year.

In addition to the budget cuts, development was suggested for a new Honors College, which would be implemented in addition to the current honors program.

Kathleen Moore, provost faculty administrator, asked the board to consider establishing the college to expand the current services and provide a higher profile for prospective students and recruits.

?A separate degree would be awarded? for a much more labor-intensive program, Moore said. The college, one of only 20 others in the country, will give students an opportunity to develop their own curriculum.

Approximately 100 students are expected to meet the requirements for acceptance.

Harold Nixon, vice president for student affairs, also proposed an increase in housing fees for the 2002-03 school year.

?We?ve already renovated several facilities and opened new ones,? Nixon said.

He said there are plans for the 2003-04 year that include two more traditional residential facilities as well as one for students involved in Greek organizations.

The proposed rates are, on average, increasing about 4 percent for all residents on campus and are being raised to cover budget expenses.

The good news, Vice President for Administrative Affairs Albert Hartley said, is that plenty of land around campus has already been budgeted and marked for development in the Tampa campus master plan.

Florida statute requires all state universities to update their master plans every five years, he said. The plans are designed to address future enrollment and facility needs ? in this case, through the 2008-09 academic year.

The plan includes upgraded data and telecommunications, additional storm water retention facilities and an improved road network.

Hartley also promised that a great deal of attention would be focused on the development of additional parking areas. Of the 134 acres available for new and future facilities, roughly half will be dedicated to surface parking, ?particularly in the medical area.?

Once all the paperwork has been filed with the proper city offices, Hartley expects a delay of only four to six months before campus changes go underway.

Lee Roy Selmon, associate director of intercollegiate athletics, proposed a plan to build an athletic facility that would, among other things, house team coaches, trainers, equipment and medical facilities.

?These are things that all of our coaches have to recruit against,? Selmon said. ?With better facilities, they can do a better job. It?s something we have needed for a long time.?

The Intercollegiate Athletic Facility, a $15 million, 110,000 square foot building that will be located at the north side of the Sun Dome, is arranged to include spaces for strength training, sports medicine, academic support, locker rooms and departmental offices.

Student body president Mike Griffin commended Selmon for his attempts to improve athletics at USF.

?On behalf of the students, it?s good to see such a landmark milestone,? Griffin said. ?We?re very excited to assist the athletic department in moving forward.?