Board Authorizes Property Purchase, Approves Warehouse Bid
The Pennsylvania College of Technology Board of Directors on Thursday authorized acquisition of three properties to be used for additional college parking and approved a bid for demolition/replacement of the college's Rose Street warehouse.
The board authorized the administration to purchase properties at 1100 W. Third St., 313 Susquehanna St. and 1109 Vine Ave. Once acquired, the parcels will be incorporated into an existing college parking lot, President Davie Jane Gilmour said, adding there is a "reasonable understanding about price" with the owners.
In other business, the board approved a bid from a Lewisburg firm to construct a replacement for the existing warehouse structure on Rose Street. The action is needed to accommodate Stage X construction of new student housing, which will combine with Rose Street Apartments and College West Apartments to form a student-housing "community" at the west end of the main campus.
The warehouse is utilized by General Services for mowing and other equipment and by Residence Life for storing extra furniture. The existing facility built in the 1920s or 1930s was part of the college's acquisition of the former Lubricup property in 2000.
The contract will be awarded to Keister Construction Inc., which submitted a bid of $773,303 for the work. Five firms submitted bids ranging to well over $1 million. College bond proceeds will be used to fund the construction, which is expected to be completed by Jan. 15. Demolition of the existing structure will take place after the new facility is finished.
The board heard a report from Lizabeth S. Mullens, vice president for academic affairs and provost, regarding 17 new faculty members hired by the college's academic schools for 2008-09. There are nine replacement positions, six new positions and two temporary positions.
The board also received a report on investments held by the college, its foundation and the college's charitable gift annuity.
Mark Stevenson, vice president and senior portfolio manager for MTB Investment Advisors Inc., said the investments were, for the most part, outperforming their prescribed benchmark indexes in "a very challenging environment."
To further minimize risk, Stevenson said, the college's investments in small companies would be phased out almost entirely. The college's large-company investments would increase, Stevenson said, as would those in emerging markets, such as China.
Mary Jo Saxe, associate professor of dental hygiene, provided a PowerPoint presentation on a student trip to Nicaragua. Six students and two faculty members traveled there in May to provide much-needed dental care to a group of approximately 70 indigent children in the third-world nation.
During the weeklong stay, the group provided a variety of services to children at La Escuelita, a school in the still-devastated area of Managua hit by an earthquake in 1972. Saxe said there is a commitment to continue the volunteer trips for five years. "It's an incredible opportunity for the students," Gilmour told board members.
In her information session, Gilmour told the board the final Fall 2008 enrollment (which includes "Penn College Now" students) is 95 full-time equivalent students fewer than what had been budgeted for in 2008-09. She also noted the college has been told it can expect a 4.25-percent reduction (nearly $620,000) in its state appropriation for Spring 2009. She said the college administration is working with cost center administrators to address the shortfall. "We are reducing where we can," she said.
Gilmour reported that 831 prospective students and 2,400 guests (from 22 states) have registered for Open House on Oct. 26. "Early numbers look very good for us," she said.