The College of William and Mary’s Board of Visitors discussed the direction of the College and how factors such as faculty satisfaction, the search for a mascot, College athletics and construction projects play into the school’s strategic plan.
Vice President for Administration Anna Martin reported on the progress of capital outlay projects that are near completion. Martin said the phase I expansion of Small Hall was on schedule to finish in March 2010, with phase II renovations projected for completion by 2011. Other projects are also on schedule.
“The School of Education is moving right along and is set for completion in May, and we should be able to move people in beginning in June,” Martin said.
According to Martin, other projects currently in the design stage include renovations to Tucker and Tyler Halls and a feasibility study for renovations to the Brafferton. These future plans will be subject to a new State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) mandated metric called the facilities condition index.
“The facilities condition index is the ratio of deferred maintenance to the current replacement value of academic facilities,” Martin said.
A ratio of 10 to 12 percent is considered “poor,” while a ratio of 7 to 10 percent is considered “fair.” The College recently added decreasing its index ratio to the strategic plan. Lowering the index will require additional construction on or renovation to campus buildings.
“You can increase total building value by expanding existing buildings, constructing new ones or through renovation,” Martin said. “You lower the total of the deferred maintenance through renovation or repair — either through a capital project or maintenance reserve work — or the demolition of a building.”
The College’s current index ratio is approximately 10 percent, down from a high of 16 percent in 1999. Martin said the decrease was due to over $275 million of construction and renovation of campus buildings, including the Integrated Science Center, Rogers Hall and Alan B. Miller Hall.
“We’re making tremendous progress,” BOV Secretary Janet Brashear ’82 said.
However, Dormitories, dining halls and administrative buildings like the Campus Center and Sadler Center
are not included in the ratio.
Martin said that administrators are working on assessments that would include these buildings in the ratio, but that their renovation would come at great expense.
“We haven’t made the full assessment on dorms, but we started looking into it about two years ago,” said Martin. “Our preliminary figures showed it would cost about $97 million.”
Additionally, SCHEV recommendations include dedicating 2.5 to 4 percent of yearly assets to maintenance.
The College currently allocates .6 percent.
Due to the high cost of maintenance, Martin said that buildings such as the Campus Center and Trinkle Hall might be more suitable for demolition and reconstruction than renovation. However, the historic value of Old Campus buildings makes them more suitable for renovation.
“We’ve got to pay money for Old Campus, especially with the government department, economics, public
policy and International Relations moving into Tyler [Hall],” Martin said.
Board members also discussed building projects, operating properties andconstruction and maintenance goals.
The results of the latest faculty surveys, which are conducted annually, were another focus of the meeting.
While in the past the survey asked faculty members to rank their top three priorities, this year’s survey asked respondents to list their top eight priorities.
The top priority, by a wide margin, was faculty salaries, followed by support for faculty research, support for graduate and professional students, and support for professional research presentations. The ranking of priorities varied between different areas of academia. The board members noted that 71.6 percent of the faculty had responded to the surveys.
While no other specifics of the survey were mentioned during the meeting, the statistics from the 315-page survey can be found at the Faculty Assembly’s website.
Another survey with a large volume of responses was the one about the five mascot finalists.
The website received 77,282 hits between Dec. 8 and Jan. 7.
11,183 people completed the College mascot survey, and 22,381 comments were posted regarding the five finalists. Of the comments, 50 percent were from students, 31 percent were from alumni, and 20 percent were identified as being either from those who remain friends of the college or unaffiliated altogether.
“People are following this,” Director of Athletics Terry Driscoll said. “People do care about it.”
Driscoll said every comment was read.
“Some were read very quickly,” Driscoll said. “About half could be considered derogatory. Some were hysterically funny. Some were very thoughtful.”
Graduating members of the College’s football team R.J. Archer ’10, David Caldwell ’10 and Rob Varno ’10 were featured as special guests. Members of the board asked the students questions about what attracted them to College, their opinions of the Laycock Center and their plans after college.
“[The football team] really did a lot to lift the spirits of a lot of people here on campus,” Driscoll said, contrasting this year’s successful football season with the sluggish economic climate.
It was noted that the football team was not the only sports team to draw exceptional interest this year. Last Saturday’s basketball game was witnessed by the largest crowd in Kaplan Arena since 1993. 7,600 people came to watch, far more than the 2,800 who normally attend. 2,100 of those in attendance were students, much higher than the usual 300.
The meeting ended with discussion of the plans to build a mixed-use residential development on the College-owned Triangle property near Wawa. In a unanimous voice-vote, board members agreed to transfer control of the Thiemes House, part of the Triangle property, from the College’s administration to the William and Mary Real Estate Foundation.
_Flat Hat Assoc. News Editors Ian Brickey and Bertel King, Jr. also contributed to this report._