By: Ball State Marketing & Communications—
Muncie, IN—The Ball State University Board of Trustees took another step forward in enhancing the campus’ science facilities by approving the issuance of bonds for construction of the $87.5 million Foundational Sciences Building.
Ball State President Geoffrey S. Mearns said the new building is the cornerstone of the University’s plans to meet a critical statewide demand for workers who are knowledgeable and adept at critical thinking and problem-solving.
“Our new Foundational Science Building will feature state-of-the-art equipment that enables faculty and staff in our biology and chemistry departments to conduct enhanced research in their science-based disciplines,” President Mearns said. “We believe the building will become an important asset in our University’s ability to provide a premier on-campus undergraduate experience to our students who will benefit from its use.”
The 205,000-square-foot Foundational Sciences Building will be located in the new East Quad, just to the south of the Health Professions Building, which is currently under construction and expected to open by Fall.
Board Chairman Rick Hall noted that when the new buildingopens in 2021, it will join the Health Professions Building in helping the University recruit and retain students who want to pursue careers in the sciences.
“These two new facilities represent the visible examples of our University’s focus on providing graduates with the skills and knowledge necessary to further strengthen the economy and quality of life Indiana,” he said.
In other business, Bernie Hannon, vice president for Business Affairs and treasurer, and Jim Lowe, associate vice president for facilities planning and management, provided an update of the Campus Master Plan. The plan, which was accepted by the Board in 2016, serves as a foundation for shaping the physical campus in the long term.
In addition to the new East Quad, there are several other important construction projects throughout campus underway or deep into the planning stage, including the North Residential Student Neighborhood, the East Mall, the Multicultural Center, and the New York Avenue Parking Garage.
Phase I of the North Residential Neighborhood, which includes a 500-student residence hall and new dining facility, is well underway. Phase II features another new 500-bed residence hall, and construction will begin early this Summer. The student housing projects will replace LaFollette, the largest residence hall complex on campus.
The new 10,500-square-foot Multicultural Center will be placed in the center of campus as part of the new East Mall. This Mall is a pedestrian and bicycle friendly path intended to connect the north end of campus through the East Quad to The Village. Also, as part of the East Mall development, the existing Emens Parking Garage is being demolished, and a grand lawn will be created in its place.
A new parking garage will be built near New York Avenue to replace the Emens Parking Garage.
The Board also heard a presentation about how data analytics strategies support enrollment and student success. The presentation was conducted by Kay Bales, vice president for Enrollment Planning and Management; Loren Malm, vice president for Information Technology and chief information officer, and Ro-Ann Royer Engle, interim vice president for Student Affairs.
The team said analytics have become increasingly important as the University focuses on where students need assistance to continue their studies and ultimately graduate.
A new system to be launched in Fall 2019 will provide student advisors, staff, and faculty with tools to understand a student’s likelihood of completing a course and persisting to the next semester, and facilitate personalized communications designed to help students succeed.
About Ball State University
Founded in 1918 and located in Muncie, Ball State is one of Indiana’s signature universities and an economic driver for the state. Ball State’s nearly 22,000 students come from all over Indiana, the nation, and the world, and its 780-acre campus is large enough to accommodate premier facilities and 19 NCAA Division I sports but small enough to ensure the friendliness, personal attention, and access that are the hallmarks of the University.