Archive for Friday, January 23, 1998


January 23, 1998


Regents approve

KSU stadium overhaul

The Kansas Board of Regents endorsed on Thursday a program statement for a planned $12.8 million expansion of KSU Stadium in Manhattan, home football field of the Kansas State University Wildcats.

The regents authorized Kansas State to seek legislative approval this session for the expansion project, which would start after the end of the next football season and be completed by the start of the 1999 season.

The expansion would add a new upper-deck section of chairback seats on the stadium's east side, 26,100 square feet of new space for luxury boxes on the west side and new seating sections that would extend into the open north end of the stadium.

KSU Stadium's permanent capacity, now 39,200, is the smallest in the Big 12. Even with the addition, capacity would be only about 46,000. With extra temporary seats, the capacity could reach 50,000, Athletic Director Max Urick said.

Kansas State's attendance averaged 43,000 in 1997, with the addition of temporary seating.

The expansion is to be financed by the issuances of $18 million in revenue bonds, with part of the proceeds being used to refinance an existing KSU Intercollegiate Athletics Corporation debt.

Faculty leader notes

salary, property concerns

Larry Draper, Kansas University Faculty Senate president and a leading member of the Kansas Board of Regents faculty council, told regents Thursday that he was heartened by recent intellectual property debates but concerned by faculty salary issues.

"We are ... optimistic that the new task force will be able to synthesize" the various viewpoints of faculty, students and university officials concerning creative works produced on campus, Draper said.

The emergence of electronic instruction has created a tremendous responsibility for faculty to scrutinize the quality of course work, he said, adding that the development of such distance-education courses is "clearly the domain of faculty."

However, concerns remain on the salary front.

In Gov. Bill Graves' recently released budget, the merit pool for faculty and unclassified staff pay raises would go up 4 percent, instead of the 5 percent requested by regents.

In light of resolutions to post-tenure review and faculty contributions to the Vision 2020 planning process, Draper said that faculty should receive stronger support from regents and the Legislature. He said faculty leaders "have yet to see a concerted effort to develop a comprehensive, persuasive, multi-year plan."

Robert Talkington, regents chair, countered that board members "still consider it a high priority," and stressed that salary review is an annual process.

Final approval given

to fieldhouse renovations

Regents formally approved the final plans and contract documents depicting the $3 million renovation project planned for Kansas University's Allen Fieldhouse.

The project itself -- including improvements to restrooms and concession areas and construction of an elevator tower -- was approved early last year.

Construction bids will go out in March, and the bulk of the labor should be finished in late 1998.

No state taxpayer dollars will be spent on the construction project, much of which will bring the fieldhouse up to Americans with Disabilities Act standards.

The renovations are being financed with bonds issued by the Kansas Development Finance Authority. Debt will be repaid through private contributions, revenue from stadium luxury box rentals, and a $6 surcharge tacked onto football and basketball tickets this year.

KUMC moving forward

with nursing facility

Regents approved final plans for construction of the new nursing education building at the Kansas University Medical Center campus in Kansas City, Kan.

The project, estimated at $11.3 million, was initially given $8.6 million in state "Crumbling Classrooms" funds. Regents on Thursday approved an additional $890,000 for the facility, which will be built next to KUMC's Murphy Hall along Rainbow Boulevard.

Dr. Donald Hagen, KUMC executive vice chancellor, said the allocation trimmed the amount the school would have to raise in private funds. Hagen said demolition for the project was already under way.

Statewide, the initial "Crumbling Classrooms" allocation for facilities improvements was more than $160 million. An additional $7.5 million was made available recently through effective handling of bonds. That money was distributed to each of the regents schools.

KU will receive an additional $2 million to convert the former Joseph R. Pearson residence hall on the Lawrence campus into the school of education. The renovation is estimated at $14 million.

The project is in the design and development stage. Bids should go out in June.

In addition, Kansas State University will receive $1.4 million; Wichita State University will receive $935,000; Emporia State University will receive $678,000; Pittsburg State University will receive $750,000; and Fort Hays State University will receive $738,000.

Education governance

holds lawmakers' interest

Executive Director Stephen Jordan said that, after testifying this week for the House Select Committee on Higher Education, he was confident in the level of interest at the Statehouse.

"There is a real opportunity for change to occur," Jordan said before distributing copies of his remarks to those in attendance at Thursday's meeting.

The committee was appointed at the beginning of the 1998 legislative session to evaluate how the state governs higher education. Recommendations on governance of six state universities, controlled by the regents, and community colleges and vocational-technical schools, controlled by the State Board of Education, are expected by late February.

KU to offer new

master's program, concentrations

The Kansas Board of Regents Council of Presidents and Council of Chief Academic Officers have approved a number of new degree programs and fields of study sequence changes at state universities.

Approved at Kansas University were: a master's degree program in civil engineering, a computation physics concentration, and a change of the systematics and ecology concentration in the biology department to biodiversity, ecology and evolutionary biology.

The master's degree program proposal will go to the board next month for final approval. The changes in major concentrations now can be put into effect.

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