Public Affairs

February 7, 2011

Facilities, academics top Board of Regents’ meeting

For Immediate Release
Monday, Feb. 7, 2011

The University of Alaska Board of Regents will consider two new construction projects in Anchorage and Soldotna, two new academic degree offerings and an overall academic master plan when it gathers Feb. 17-18, next Thursday and Friday, in Anchorage.

The meeting will start at 9 a.m. Feb. 17 in Room 107 of the Lee Gorsuch Commons at the University of Alaska Anchorage campus. Public testimony is scheduled for 10 a.m. Thursday and 9 a.m. Friday.

Up for the board’s consideration is amended formal project approval for the UAA Seawolf Sports Arena, which would allow the UA administration to proceed with developing the facility recently approved by voters in the November General Obligation bond.

The only current athletic facility at UAA is the Wells Fargo Sports Complex, which opened in 1978 to serve what was then a community college. At that time, there was no student housing at UAA. Today, the UA System’s largest campus has 15,000 commuter students, 1,000 residential students, 300 students in health, physical education and recreation academic programs, 11 Division I and Division II athletic teams, almost 170 student-athletes, seven head coaches and various other athletics personnel. Building the new arena would free up space in Wells Fargo, which would become the primary recreational, wellness and physical education facility for students, staff and community members. Additionally, UAA would upgrade and renovate the current hockey team practice site in Wells Fargo.

Also on the agenda is formal project approval for a Career and Technical Education Center at Kenai Peninsula College in Soldotna, not to exceed $14.5 million. This workforce training center, approved by voters as part of the November GO bond, would build a 15,000-square-foot building that would house laboratories, a multi-function lab/shop with a high-bay door, classrooms, offices and a student commons.

The new facility will house KPC's growing workforce development programs in process technology, industrial process instrumentation, computer electronics and occupational safety and health. The new space will enable these high-demand programs to better utilize existing and new equipment that meet industry standards in less crowded conditions. It will also free approximately 5,086 square feet in the main campus building that will be used for other growing KPC programs including nursing, para-medicine and art.

The agenda is packed with other items as well.

UAA’s Institute of Social and Economic Research will celebrate ISER’s 50th anniversary and highlight some of the current and recent research projects important to Alaskans and the state during a lunchtime presentation Thursday, Feb. 17.

Several new degree programs will be up for consideration, including an Associate in Applied Science in outdoor leadership at Prince William Sound Community College and a Bachelor of Arts degree in film at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.  Regents also will consider approval of the UA System’s Academic Master Plan---a collaborative effort led by UA faculty across the system.

A report on the university’s engineering initiative to double the number of engineers graduated and improve facilities at both UAF and UAA is expected to draw interest from the private sector. UA is on
target to double engineering graduates, but facilities are crowded and need improvement. The engineering plan provides guidance in how UA should address these issues.

Also on the agenda is a revision to UA’s non-discrimination policy to include “sexual orientation.” Students, staff and faculty have requested the change for years. About 400 public colleges and universities across the nation have adopted similar language.

This will be the first regular meeting for new regents Jo Heckman and Mike Powers.

For the complete agenda, go to www.alaska.edu/bor/ and click on “agendas.”

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For more information, call Kate Ripley at 907/450-8102 or 907/388-3506.

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