Penn State

Trustee notebook: Lacrosse facility to see upgrade

Penn State’s Jenna Mosketti is hit by Vanderbilt’s Maggie Forker. Penn State women’s lacrosse beat Vanderbilt 17-10 March 15, 2015.
Penn State’s Jenna Mosketti is hit by Vanderbilt’s Maggie Forker. Penn State women’s lacrosse beat Vanderbilt 17-10 March 15, 2015. CDT photo

What started with a lacrosse field built in 2012 is now on track to become Penn State’s next multimillion-dollar athletic facility.

APArchitects LLC, of State College, was given the nod by the university board of trustees Committee on Finance, Business and Capital Planning on Thursday to proceed with developing a building for the sport at an estimated cost of $8.4 million.

The proposal would include concessions, restrooms and other support for the fans who attend the games. Associate Vice President of the Office of Physical Plant Ford Stryker said the men’s and women’s lacrosse teams both use the field, drawing more than 950 people for the competitions.

Stryker said most of the cost was expected to be covered through gifts to the program.

“What happens if we get started and the gifts don’t come?” trustee Bill Oldsey asked. “We can’t just stop.”

Stryker said the project was only in the planning stage and would not begin “until we know where the money is coming from.”

President Eric Barron said, “Having a design should help the fundraising.”

The one group that won’t use the facility? The players, who will still have to cross University Drive to walk to their locker rooms in another building.

Football pressbox gets work

Members of the press showing up at Beaver Stadium to cover the home opener against Buffalo on Sept. 12 should have newly renovated space.

The $2 million project includes elevator replacement, swapping out some windows and refurbishing others for better ventilation, new carpeting and other finishes, some restroom upgrades, plus cleaning and painting and improving emergency lighting fixtures and some lighting on the third floor.

It will be the first time the press box has been spruced up in 37 years.

BJC liquor license waits on state

The trustees Committee on Legal and Compliance has signed off on the idea of a public-venue liquor license for the Bryce Jordan Center.

If approved by the state, the license would have its debut at the Garth Brooks concerts scheduled May 1-2.

President Eric Barron would not support or oppose the proposition when asked by the committee, but did re-state that the license would not be used for school-related events.

He also revealed that some of the money generated by the beer sales would be used to support anti-alcohol programs at the university.

Name change for

women’s studies

If you have been studying in the department of women’s studies, get ready for a change. The committee on academic affairs and student life is supporting a change.

If approved by the full board, that part of the College of the Liberal Arts will have an immediate name change, becoming the department of women’s, gender and sexuality studies.

“Because the field of women’s studies has broadened considerably in recent years, many departments of our peer institutions have made similar name changes,” department head Carolyn Sachs said in a statement. “We would like our department name to reflect the depth and breadth of our scholarly expertise.”

Two other departments are getting more than a name change, becoming their own school.

The departments of electrical engineering, one of the oldest in the country, and computer science and engineering, will merge to create the new School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. The new school will house both of those departments.

According to the university, if the full board approves the creation, the new school would have administrative offices within the College of Engineering but would “reach out to all academic and research units at Penn State, nationally and globally.” The faculty would include about 80 professors, as well as a head and an associate head for each department.

Survey: Trustees untrustworthy

Some trustees were not happy about an alumni survey presented to the Committee on Outreach, Development and Community Relations.

Representatives from Strategy One tried to talk about the trends, and an upward tick in perception in some areas since the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal broke in 2011, but one area jumped out at trustee Ted Brown.

One portion of the study asked respondents who they would trust. By and large, it isn’t the trustees.

Faculty, yes. They got the lion’s share of the vote with 64 percent in December 2014, followed by students and alumni just behind at 62 percent. Administration halved that, coming in at just 32 percent, but up from a low of 26 percent.

The trustees, however, came in at just 19 percent, meaning less than one in five Penn State alumni actually trust the people making the decisions for the university.

“That says to me that of everyone that I trust, the last is us,” Brown said.