At last month’s meeting, the University’s Board of Regents decided to award contracts to commence the renovation of East Quad Residence Hall and improvements to the residential quarters of the Lawyer’s Club. This week, the regents will vote on adding another construction project — a new building for the School of Nursing — to the list.
In addition to discussing reconstruction of the School of Nursing, the board will also vote on honorary degrees for the 2012 Spring Commencement ceremony, including recently announced keynote speaker Sanjay Gupta — a University alum CNN’s chief medical correspondent They will also vote on funding increases to renovations to Yost Ice Arena and the renaming of Crisler Arena.
Timothy Slottow, the University’s executive vice president and chief financial officer, wrote in a communication to the regents that the new nursing building will be constructed to offer space for new methods of teaching that cannot be accommodated in the current building.
“The School of Nursing is proposing to construct a new building of approximately 75,000 gross square feet to accommodate its instructional space needs, including a clinical learning center with simulation and skill labs and simulated patient suites in an environment that will foster collaboration and community,” Slottow wrote.
The University’s School of Nursing was ranked sixth in the United States last year, according to U.S. News & World Reports.
The new building will be located near the current School of Nursing building on North Ingalls Street and is estimated to cost $50 million, which will come from the University’s investment proceeds.
Proposed renaming of Crisler Arena to be approved
In a communication to the regents, Slottow and Athletic Director David Brandon proposed that Crisler Arena be officially renamed Crisler Center.
According to the communication, Crisler Arena, which houses the University basketball teams’ home courts, was built in 1967 and was renamed from the University Events Building to Crisler Arena in honor of former Athletic Director Herbert Crisler in 1970.
Slottow and Brandon wrote that the new name would more accurately describe the building because of recent improvements and additions to the space.
The recently constructed Player Development Center cost the University $23.2 million and offers University basketball players amenities such as locker rooms, practice courts, an equipment room, and access to medical care.
“Because Crisler Arena is being expanded and converted to a more multi-purpose facility, and the arena portion is simply one facet of the building, to refer to it as an arena is no longer properly descriptive,” Slottow and Brandon wrote.
Regents vote to increase budget for Yost Ice Arena renovations
At their January meeting, the regents approved the issuing of project bids for seating replacement and window installation in Yost Ice Arena, among other improvements to the 89-year-old facility. After receiving bids from contractors, Slottow and Brandon recommended an increase in the budget for the project in order to make all of the desired improvements, including large, historic windows.
“Due to a strong desire to include the alternates, and the fact that the bids received were higher than expected due to the cost of the steel and bleachers, we are recommending increasing the budget by $2 million,” Slottow and Brandon wrote.
The $2-million increase will bring the total cost from $14 million to $16 million and will come from the Athletic Department funds and gifts. The construction is expected to be completed by this fall.
Honorary degree recipients to be approved
The regents will also vote to approve all recipients of honorary degrees at the University’s 2012 Spring Commencement, which is scheduled for April 28 in the Big House.
The recipients of the honorary degrees were announced yesterday. Gupta, The New Yorker’s Susan Orlean and Chris Van Allsburg, author of “The Polar Express and “Jumanji,” are each slated to receive a Doctorate of Humane Letters. José Antonio Abreu, a musician and founder of a youth program for children in Venezuela, is slated to receive a Doctorate of Music; J. Ira Harris, who formerly worked on the University’s Investment Advisory Committee, is slated to receive a Doctorate of Laws; and Richard Sarns, chairman of J. I. Harris & Associates, is slated to receive a Doctorate of Engineering.
In an exclusive interview with The Michigan Daily last week, University President Mary Sue Coleman said the Honorary Degree Committee works to select recipients from all different backgrounds.
“We try to balance interests,” Coleman said. “We try to balance areas across the University so that we give students a chance to see this broad spectrum of accomplishments.”
Gupta has accepted the invitation to be the speaker for the University-wide Commencement and Orlean has accepted the invitation to be the speaker for Rackham’s University Graduate Exercises on April 27.