The University’s Board of Regents discussed three separate proposals for construction projects on campus — totaling almost $62 million — at their monthly meeting Thursday afternoon.

The largest of the projects, the $49 million renovations of Couzens Hall was authorized for the issuing and approving of bids to construction companies, as long as the bids are within the approved budget.

Couzens, which houses around 560 students, will close during the renovation. The project is scheduled to be completed in summer 2011.

The hall’s dining facility, which has not been used since the opening of the Hill Dining Center, will be converted into living-learning space. Couzens’ infrastructure will also be improved with new plumbing, heating, ventilation, fire detection and suppression systems, high speed wired and wireless Internet and freshly renovated bathrooms. The redesigned residence hall will be more energy efficient as well.

The Regents also approved the issuing and approving of bids to construction companies for a $1.8 million project to renovate administrative office space in the North Campus Research Complex. New carpeting and fresh paint will be added to the office space. The project is expected to be completed by spring 2010.

An addition and a partial renovation to the Michigan Memorial Phoenix Laboratory was also approved by the Regents. The project is slated to cost $11.1 million and include renovations to 10,000 square feet of the existing building and 10,000 newly constructed square feet.

The renovated space will be converted to a state-of-the-art laboratory for energy related research. The addition will house the Michigan Memorial Phoenix Energy Institute’s administrative offices.

New women’s hospital named

After receiving a $15 million gift from the Ted and Jane Von Voigtlander Foundation for the benefit of the University’s Women’s Hospital, the regents formally named the hospital after the couple.

The new official name will be the Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital.

The gift will be used to help construct the new C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital and the Women’s Hospital.

“The naming request recognizes the largest gift ever received by the University in support of women’s health,” University President Mary Sue Coleman said at the meeting.

The late Jane and Ted Von Voigtlander first met in Ann Arbor and often made donations to the University Health Service. Ted Voigtlander was the co-owner of Discount Tire Company. After her husband died, Jane made a $2 million donation to the children’s hospital in his memory.

The $523 million project began in October 2006. Both hospitals are expected to be completed in spring 2011.

University’s entrepreneurial activities lauded

Representatives from the Ross School of Business and the College of Engineering spoke to the Regents about efforts to spread entrepreneurship beyond the business school and to campus as a whole.

Executive Director of the Zell Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies Thomas Kinnear and Associate Dean for Entrepreneurial Studies in the School of Engineering Thomas Zurbuchen each made presentations about the status of entrepreneurship at the University.

“There’s a stirring on campus,” Kinnear said, “It’s been going on for a while. It’s welling up. It’s a very positive economic story, from the University to the state of Michigan and to the economy around the area.”

Zurbechen said he will teach an entrepreneurial class that will have art students and engineering students, as well as business students, enrolled.

“The reason this entrepreneurial thinking spills out of the business school and is pervasive in all units of campus and is a core unit of engineering and many other units is because underlying all of this is a mindset; a mindset that creates leadership,” Zurbuchen said.

University President Mary Sue Coleman also spoke about the 1,000 Pitches competition run by M-Powered, a student run entrepreneurial group.

Coleman said it was, “a contest aimed at encouraging students to submit 1,000 three-minute video pitches for new businesses, projects, or ventures. This year, the group had over 2,000 pitches.”

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