Board Approves Planning Initiatives, Lease Agreement
Pennsylvania College of Technology's Board of Directors on Thursday authorized a lease agreement that would provide the college access to state-owned property west of Rose Street, approved a name for the new masonry facility, and endorsed an additional goal for inclusion in the college's strategic goals and initiatives for 2010-13.
The board authorized President Davie Jane Gilmour to enter into an agreement with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (Department of Environmental Protection) to lease approximately 13 acres of land west of Rose Street and east of a property the college purchased several years ago.
The college will not be charged anything to lease the state-owned property, and the agreement would be renewable on a yearly basis. The college hopes to clean up the land, but will not build any permanent structures upon it.
Gilmour said the college envisions creating a park-like atmosphere by providing walking trails, picnic areas and athletic fields for students. Some of the cleanup work could be done by college personnel, though some of it would have to be contracted out, Gilmour and Senior Vice President William J. Martin noted. Funds for the contracted work would have to be included in the college budget.
"It's not necessarily something we will do tomorrow," Gilmour explained to the board.
The college has cleaned up the property it owns west of the state land, Gilmour said. That property, the former Fagnano auto salvage yard, was purchased by the college in 2008. Future plans also call for a bike path through campus to be extended from Rose Street to West Third Street at the former Fagnano site. Additional college parking is envisioned for the portion of the parcel that fronts West Third Street; athletic fields are planned for the remainder.
Gilmour thanked state Sen. Gene Yaw, a member of the board, for his work in helping to arrange leasing terms with the state.
Yaw said the long-range goal is to purchase the property, if possible. Either way, no permanent building can be done there because the parcel is part of a flood-control project.
In other business, the board approved the name for the new masonry facility that was constructed at Vine Avenue and Grier Street. It will be known as the "Construction Masonry Building" (to be designated "CMB" on campus maps).
The masonry program is vacating space in the Carl Building Technologies Center to accommodate the renewable energy technologies program. The 18,500-square-foot, single-story masonry building features a large, open lab area and reflects the latest in "green" technologies. Some equipment may be moved to the new facility as soon as the week of Spring Break (March 6-13).
The board approved the addition of a strategic goal that addresses methods to increase college enrollment. The goal includes expanding both outreach and on-campus recruitment, reviewing new academic-program possibilities on a two-year cycle, and expanding opportunities for transfer students.
In the information portion of the meeting, the board heard of the administration's recommendation not to revise the college's investment policy. At a previous board meeting, it was suggested that the college consider allowing the purchase of securities below investment grade. A subsequent review determined that the potential upside does not warrant the additional risk.
"We really do not feel it's the right move for the college at this time," said Suzanne T. Stopper, vice president for finance/CFO.
In another informational item, Gilmour told the board that the college added 207 transfer students and 218 new students in January. She also noted the 2011-12 budgeting process has begun.