Residence hall upgrades on tap for Board of Trustees

When the Board of Trustees of the University of Oregon meets next week, trustees will hear about plans to upgrade the university’s older residence halls and the latest thinking on a possible tuition guarantee program.

Board committees will hold meetings Wednesday, Dec. 2, in Room 403 of the Ford Alumni Center, and the full board will meet at 9 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 3, in the center’s Giustina Ballroom. All meetings are open to the public.

Wednesday’s committee meetings will start with the Academic and Student Affairs Committee at 9 a.m., followed by the Executive and Audit Committee at 12:30 p.m. and the Finance and Facilities Committee at 1:30 p.m. Materials for the committee and full board meetings are available here.

UO Housing will present a plan to the Finance and Facilities Committee that would bring three of the university’s largest housing complexes — Bean, Hamilton and Walton — up to modern standards through renovation rather than replacement. The board will hear details of a report that outlines how tearing down the older buildings and constructing new ones would require “prohibitively expensive room and board rates,” while renovation would be just 40 percent of the cost of building new.

Under the plan, the UO would first build one more new residence hall in the east campus area, with work starting this spring and finishing by fall 2017. That would add 531 new beds and allow a kind of “domino effect” of renovations, with older halls being taken out of service for upgrades over the ensuing 10 years.

The board also will get an update on a possible tuition guarantee program, which is currently being discussed with student groups around campus. If adopted, incoming freshmen would pay the same tuition for each of their first four consecutive years at UO.

Roger Thompson, the UO’s vice president for enrollment management, will discuss the results of the listening tour and a survey of students. He will also share research on how other universities have shaped and rolled out tuition guarantee plans.

In other business, trustees will hear reports on President Michael Schill’s access and affordability initiative, which was the subject of an all-campus address in November, and will get information about programmatic components of the new college and careers building. They will also consider a request to name the building Willie and Donald Tykeson Hall, after the couple who made a lead gift of $10 million for the project.

Similarly, the board will consider naming the new softball stadium now under construction Jane Sanders Stadium, in recognition of a $16 million gift from Bob Sanders, a longtime donor, in honor of his late wife.

By Greg Bolt, Public Affairs Communications