The University of Central Arkansas Board of Trustees approved a plan to expand and renovate the Lewis Science Center.
The Board approved the addition of approximately 50,000 square feet to the existing Lewis Science Center at an estimated cost of $17.5 million. The Board also approved the replacement of the roof on the existing building.
“We’ve been working toward this project for a long time. The people who work and study in this building have done an exemplary job in a facility that has served its purpose,” said Steven Runge, provost and vice president for academic affairs.
The Lewis Science Center was built in 1965 as a 53,000 square foot, single story, flat roof structure. A 62,000 square foot, two-story addition to the north side of the structure was added in 1987.
The proposed 50,000 square foot, three-story addition will include teaching, learning and research space allowing flexibility to accommodate current and future teaching methods. The laboratory spaces will allow for proper floor to ceiling heights required for modern equipment. Also included in the design will be features allowing for significant improvements in equipment efficiency and energy utilization with LEED certification.
“For us to stay ahead of the curve in terms of science instruction, research, and community service, we absolutely must have upgraded facilities,” Runge commented.
Additionally, the Board approved an increase in the student facility fee of $3.50 per credit hour to fund the bonds needed for the project. This action covers the Lewis Science Center addition with an anticipated cost of $17.5 million. Existing University Capital Reserves of $4 million have been designated for this project leaving an amount to be bonded of $13.5 million.
“I’m pleased we were able to come up with a good funding solution that was supported by students and university,” said Diane Newton, vice president for finance and administration.
The Board also discussed or took action on the following items:
• Approved an increase of 4.5 percent for room and board rates. The would make the room and board rate for 2014-15 $2,889.00, based on double-occupancy room and the total access meal plan with $50 declining cash balance. This increase will result in the student paying an additional $124 per semester.
• Revised the smoking and tobacco use policy. The newly approved policy now includes prohibition of electronic cigarettes anywhere on campus and in any vehicle owned or leased by the University.
• Approved a resolution of appreciation for Victor Green, Board Chair for 2013. During Green’s service as Chair, the “University made significant progress by (a) having an increase in enrollment; (b) beginning the construction of an expansion and renovation of the Health, Physical Education, and Recreation Center on campus; (c) providing for a cost-of-living adjustment for faculty and staff; (d) continuing to see an improvement in the University’s finances and fund balances; (e) beginning the first phase of a Greek Village, and (f) planning for expansion and renovation of Lewis Science Center and the long-term development for the Donaghey Avenue corridor.”