Renovation plans to be discussed at regents meeting

By Peter Shahin, Daily Staff Reporter
Published February 13, 2012

After approving a $116 million renovation to East Quad Residence Hall in July and $39 million in improvements to the Lawyer’s Club in March, University officials will seek approval from the University’s Board of Regents to award contracts for these projects at their monthly meeting on Thursday.

In a communication to the regents, Timothy Slottow, the University’s executive vice president and chief financial officer, and E. Royster Harper, the University's vice president for student affairs, wrote that the University is prepared to finalize contracts and begin building this summer.

“The renovation (of East Quad) will update infrastructure, including: new plumbing, heating, cooling, ventilation, fire detection and suppression systems; wired and wireless high speed network access, renovated bath facilities; and accessibility improvements,” Slottow and Harper wrote.

The project will also provide a renovated home for the University’s Residential College, which has occupied retrofitted space in East Quadrangle since its inception in 1967. Slottow and Harper noted that the RC's offices were originally bedrooms and most of the classrooms are currently in the basement of the building.

Separately, Slottow requested that the regents also approve bids for renovations to the Lawyer’s Club and the John P. Cook Building. In a communication to the regents, Slottow wrote that the renovations would do away with the “townhouse-style” entries to the residences and create an interior corridor to foster “a sense of community for the residents.”

According to a master schedule of construction projects included with the regents’ meeting items, the renovations of both East Quad and the Lawyer’s Club are to be completed by summer 2013.

North Campus Computer Science and Engineering Building to be renamed

In a communication to the regents, Slottow and David Munson, dean of the College of Engineering, recommended that the regents formally change the name of the Computer Science and Engineering Building on North Campus to the Bob and Betty Beyster Building.

Slottow and Munson wrote that the achievements of University alum J. Robert Beyster merit the honor, citing his work in both the private sector and his philanthropic contributions. Beyster founded the engineering research company Science Applications International Corporation, which aims to apply science and technology in innovative ways, and employed 43,000 at the time of Beyster’s retirement in 2004, according to the SAIC website.

According to the communication, Beyster recently made a contribution of $15 million to the College of Engineering to support research and academics, as well as establish a graduate-level fellowship.

“Funds will be used in part to create the J. Robert Beyster Computational Innovation Graduate Fellows Program to support research in a variety of fields linking high-performance computing, networking, and storage to applications of societal importance,” Slottow and Munson wrote.

University invests in new funds

As a part of an effort to diversify and expand the University’s investments, Slottow informed the regents of the University’s additional commitment of $80 million to funds previously approved by the regents. These investments do not require additional voting, since the regents had already approved each fund’s initial investment in the past.

The additional funds cover a variety of sectors including securities, natural gas exploration, renewable energy and developing market companies, according to the communication.

In a separate communication, Slottow wrote that the University is seeking approval from the regents to invest $10 million in a real estate fund in Asia. The fund’s principal investment is a joint partnership project with the Chinese government to build office buildings, shopping centers and transportation hubs.

“This commitment offers the University an attractive opportunity to invest in a project in China that has been significantly de-risked due to its almost completed status,” Slottow wrote.