Public Affairs

April 12, 2005

Board of Regents to Meet in Bethel

For Immediate Release
Tuesday, April 12, 2005

The University of Alaska Board of Regents will meet Wednesday and Thursday in Bethel to approve and delete several academic programs, consider property purchases and sales in Juneau, Wasilla and Fairbanks, and review the status of the university’s retirement obligation.

In addition, board members will receive an overview of the university’s debt capacity and discuss the possibility of issuing revenue bonds for needed capital projects across the system.
Up for approval are the following academic degree programs: Certificates in Medical Assisting; Safety, Health and Environmental Awareness; and  Instrumentation Technology—all at UAF. Also up for approval is a graduate certificate in Dietetic Internship at UAA.

In addition, board members will consider the deletion of the Engineer of Mines degree at UAF. UAF Provost Paul Reichardt recommended elimination of the Engineer of Mines degree based on a 2002-2003 program assessment. With no students and graduates over the past four years, deleting the EM program is a step toward focusing instructional efforts and developing critical mass in the mining programs.

The proposed changes to the academic degree programs would be effective for the fall 2005 semester and would have a small impact on the UA budget.
In other business, the board will consider selling an 80-acre parcel in the Meadow Lakes area, about six miles east of Wasilla. The property would be sold to a construction company for $850,000. The board’s agenda also includes consideration of the following property purchases:

  • The old Horton Hardware building in Auke Bay, a 10,000-square-foot structure on roughly 2 _ acres just north of the Juneau campus, for a purchase price not to exceed $1.7 million. The university currently leases the building and, after the acquisition, plans to renovate it and use it as the UAS campus bookstore and for administrative offices.
  • A 44,600-square-foot warehouse in Fairbanks on Aurora Avenue, used for UAF’s central receiving, parking services and several other departments, for a purchase price of $1.8 million. The university currently leases the building, which recently went on the market.

The board also will receive an update on the status of the university’s expected increase in retirement obligations next year, pegged at $10.4 million. The board will review possible changes in state statutes governing the university’s Optional Retirement Program, which would give the board more flexibility in providing retirement benefits in the future, if the board so chooses.

The board also will receive an overview of the university’s debt capacity and discuss the possibility of issuing revenue bonds for needed capital projects, such as the second phase of a student housing project at UAA; a central campus chiller replacement at UAF; and the Biological Research and Diagnostic (BiRD) facility at UAF.

An important part of the Bethel meeting is community outreach. Board members will attend a community reception at the Bethel Cultural Center Wednesday night, and have breakfast Thursday morning with members of the Kuskokwim Campus Advisory Council in Sackett Hall.

The university, through UAF’s College of Rural Alaska, offers numerous programs at the Kuskokwim Campus in Bethel, including innovative approaches in health care programs in cooperation with industry partners, and a commitment to continuing education. The campus serves 47 villages through a variety of methods including audio conferencing, intensive residential sessions and face-to-face courses.

For a complete agenda go to www.alaska.edu/bor/.

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For more information, call Kate Ripley, 907/450-8102
NR7-05

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