University to Invest in Significant Housing Improvements in Summer 2014
The Ferris State University Board of Trustees approved $1.6 million in funding for
2014-15 housing improvements at its regular meeting on Friday, Feb. 21 in the Swan
Building on the Big Rapids campus.
The plan targets improvements to student residential facilities that include residence
halls as well as West Campus Apartments. The upgrades will focus primarily on floor
covering, lighting, painting, residence hall lobby/front desk upgrades and improved
wireless Internet service. Halls scheduled for selected improvements include: Clark,
Cramer, Hallisy, North and South Bond, Puterbaugh, Vandercook and Ward. Additionally,
West Campus Apartments upgrades will include selected replacements of appliances,
doors and furnaces.
“In our continuing effort to provide quality facilities for our residential students,
the university is committed to upgrading our residential facilities,” said Jerry Scoby,
vice president for Administration and Finance. “As funds become available, we’re focusing
our efforts on improvements to our facilities that will better meet the expectations
of and provide the best value for our student residents and the university.”
Funding for improvements will come from Housing Maintenance and Repair funds and the
Capital Renewal and Deferred Maintenance initiative.
The board approved granting three honorary doctorates – James Gartner and Susan P.
Wheatlake on the Big Rapids campus and Steven Kolb for Kendall College of Art and
- James Gartner has been honored twice as the recipient of the Directors Guild of America
Award for “Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Commercials.” He has earned hundreds
of other awards, including two Emmy’s and multiple Gold Lions at Cannes. Gartner’s
feature film, Glory Road, opened at number one in box-office receipts in 2006;
- Susan P. Wheatlake has become an effective advocate for cancer education and treatment.
She has been instrumental in raising funds to establish and build cancer centers at
both the Mecosta County Medical Center in Big Rapids and Reed City Hospital. These
facilities were named the Susan P. Wheatlake Cancer Center in her honor; and
- Steven Kolb, chief executive officer of the Council of Fashion Designers of America,
oversees all operations and activities for the designer trade association and its
affiliated charitable foundation. CFDA membership consists of more than 400 of America’s
leading women’s wear, men’s wear, jewelry and accessory designers.
Trustees also approved the recommendations from Ferris’ Charter Schools Office to
charter six new school academies. These schools have a range of “magnet” features
meant to engage students through the applied and relevant nature of their curricula.
- Detroit Delta Preparatory Academy of Social Justice, in Detroit, will stress the theme
of social justice; has secured an $800,000 four-year grant from the Michigan Futures
- Frederick Douglass International Academy, in Ferndale, will promote cultural diversity;
plans to develop collaboration with schools in Africa, Asia and South America;
- Future Leaders Academy of Michigan for Entrepreneurs, location to be determined, will
focus on leadership and employability skills; also plans single-gender classrooms
in core subjects areas, and utilization of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math
- Great Lakes Anchor Academy, in Mt. Clemens, will provide a maritime-themed STEM curriculum;
students will have the opportunity, if they choose, to earn rank in the U.S. Navy
through the school’s partnership with the Navy’s Sea Cadet program;
- Great Lakes Explorations Academy, in Kalamazoo County, will focus on environmental
curriculum and programs; proposes to utilize resources of the Kalamazoo Nature Center,
Kal-Haven Trailhead and Kalamazoo River watershed; and
- Schools for the Future High School, in Detroit, will incorporate mobile technology
to allow students 24/7 access to learning resources; has secured an $800,000 four-year
grant from the Michigan Futures Foundation.
In other news, trustees approved:
- a request to move forward with the strategic space utilization study for KCAD’s facilities.
The study will include an inventory of existing program needs and space utilization
as well as recommendations for strategic space utilization. The study will create
a plan to guide future development projects in the space and become part of the future
master plan of Ferris;
- the administration’s recommendation to move forward with design and construction projects
for the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts. When trustees voted in August to merge
the UICA with KCAD, it was with the understanding that the UICA facility would require
necessary completion of infrastructure on the fourth and fifth floors. The improvements
are necessary to allow the UICA to successfully function and operate. At the time
of the merger, KCAD purchased 2,100 square feet of unfinished retail space. This space
will eventually serve as classroom and meeting space as well as space for students
to work on a 24/7 basis;
- Charter Schools Office recommendations for the reauthorization of Benton Harbor Charter
School, in Benton Harbor; Creative Technologies Academy, of Cedar Springs; and Hope
of Detroit Academy, in Detroit;
- the CSO’s recommendations for a contract extension for Bridge Academy, of Hamtramck,
and the addition of pre-kindergarten for Hope Academy of Detroit; and
- 26 appointments and reappointments to the boards of directors of Ferris authorized
The next regular full meeting of the Board of Trustees is scheduled for 11 a.m. on
Friday, May 9 in Big Rapids. Board of Trustees committee meetings commence at 10 a.m.