The University’s Board of Regents is slated to approve large-scale renovation projects to both East Quadrangle and North Hall, together totaling nearly $118 million, at their monthly meeting this Thursday.

Renovations to East Quad, the home of the Residential College, were first proposed in Sept. 2004 as part of the Residential Life Initiatives project enacted by the regents to improve living standards at the University. The 300,000 square-foot dormitory was originally built in 1940, with subsequent additions in 1948 and 1969. It can house about 860 students.

E. Royster Harper, the University’s vice president for student affairs, and Timothy Slottow, the University’s executive vice president and chief financial officer, wrote in a communication to the regents that the project will establish new heating and cooling systems, access to high-speed wireless internet services, expansion of areas for academic programs and improved dining hall facilities. Additionally, it will include improved ventilation and fire detection systems, as well as renovations of bathing areas.

The reconstruction is expected to cost $116 million and will be funded by money provided from University Housing, the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts and other investments, according to the communication.

Regents to vote on establishment of new graduate program

The regents will also vote on the creation of the “Master’s in Entrepreneurship,” a joint graduate degree program between the Stephen M. Ross School of Business and the College of Engineering.

The program has been in the development stages for the past two years and aims to fuse the strengths of the two programs as part of an initiative to “position the University of Michigan at the forefront of entrepreneurship education and execution,” according to a communication to the regents from David Munson, dean of the College of Engineering, Robert Dolan, dean of the School of Business and University Provost Philip Hanlon.

“While multidisciplinary entrepreneurship programs are on the rise at other institutions, none of our peer research institutions have been effective at creating a stand-alone, technology based, joint degree program in entrepreneurship,” the communication states.

If approved, the program will be implemented in September 2012 after already receiving approval from the College of Engineering in October 2010 and the School of Business in April 2011. According to the communication, a Faculty Director and a Program Executive Committee, consisting of two faculty members from each school, will oversee the program.

Regents to consider North Hall renovations

The regents will also vote on approval of a $1.6 million restoration project to North Hall, a building located on North University Avenue that houses the University’s Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps program, as well as the Army and Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps programs.

In a communication to the regents, Slottow urged the executive body to approve the infrastructure improvements that include updating heating, air conditioning and electrical systems, implementing storm windows to conserve energy, establishing unisex bathrooms and providing a handicap-accessible main entrance.

The 48,000 square-foot building was constructed in 1900 and originally served as the home of the University’s homeopathic medical college until the ROTC located there in 1941. If approved, construction of the project will be completed by winter 2012.

Regents to contemplate program name change

The regents will also have the opportunity to vote on changing the name of the University’s Department of Geological Sciences to the Department of Earth and Environment.

In a communication to the regents, Terrence McDonald, dean of the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts and University Provost Phillip Hanlon, wrote the reason for the change stems from systematic trends in both national and international study of the earth sciences as it increasingly focuses more on “the societal impact of the field.”

Additionally, the communication states that the name change is warranted due to the expansion of the program’s research initiatives in encompassing a multitude of areas of earth sciences, as well as the establishment of an increased number of cross-listed classes between the Program in the Environment and the School of Natural Resources and Environment.

McDonald and Slottow wrote in the communication that they anticipate that changing the program’s name will be a better indicator to students and University members as to how it can prepare them for work in professional fields.

“The name change more effectively communicates to undergraduates the rich experiential learning opportunities in the department, preparing them for highly adaptable and versatile careers in industry, government, and academica,” the communication states.

If approved, the name change would be effective Sept. 1.

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