BOV talks construction, registration

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December 2, 2010

11:59 PM

Campus construction plans, risk management and student life were just some of the topics discussed at the College of William and Mary’s Board of Visitors meetings Wednesday and Thursday.

According to Vice President for Administration Anna Martin, current construction projects at the College are progressing on schedule. The expansion of Small Hall should be completed by March 2011, and be ready for occupancy by late May or early June 2011.

Martin also said that one section of utility upgrades on Old Campus, the first of two bore holes which pass underneath the Wren Yard, was completed Wednesday. The upgrades will replace 1947-era heating and cooling systems for most buildings on Old Campus, and have been one of the more visible construction projects at the College.

“We’re on time and we’re actually below budget for this project,” Martin said.

Another project, the new athletic facility, Martin Family Stadium at Albert-Daly Field, should be completed and ready for lacrosse matches by April.

Two other projects — renovations to Tucker Hall and the third phase of the Integrated Science Center — are awaiting funding from the Commonwealth of Virginia before ground can be broken.

Following the planned renovation, the English department, currently housed in Tyler Hall, will move back to its traditional home in Tucker. Once constructed, ISC 3 will complete the triangle design for the new sciences complex, currently composed of Rogers Hall and the Integrated Science Center. Martin said that the financial situation for ISC expansion would be more clear with the release of the state budget Dec. 17.
Martin said that the English department’s planned move would open up Tyler Hall for occupancy by government, international relations and economics departments. The College also plans to renovate Tyler Hall once state funding becomes available.

“Our goal for renovating these buildings is to maintain and preserve their historic nature,” Martin said. “[Tyler Hall] will be a much more welcoming area.”

Additionally, to create enough space to house the departments, Martin said that the College plans to reopen the attic of Tyler Hall and convert it to office and classroom space. However, inflation could be a major factor in the building’s immediate future.

“It you built it starting today, it would be about $14.5 million. If you estimated it starting in 2016, it would be about $16.4 million,” Martin said.

College Provost Michael Halleran then addressed the BOV’s audit committee and discussed the possibility of installing software on College computers to block faculty and staff from accessing adult internet sites.

According to Virginia statues, state employees may not access pornographic material via the internet at work. On Oct. 18, former economics professor Justin May pled guilty to child pornography charges in U.S. District Court.

Halleran made note of a case involving a College employee who, while not accessing pornographic material at work, had led College administrators to reevaluate current technology policies.

According to Halleran, the College does not currently block any computer on the College’s network from accessing adult materials. However, each computer on the network is issued a public IP address, which is stored for five or six years, and browser histories are kept for approximately one month.

Halleran said that his discussions with Chief Information Officer Courtney Carpenter determined that installing blocking software at this time would not be necessary, as no other public institution in Virginia utilizes such software.

The BOV also discussed a recent campus survey that sought to gauge satisfaction with the College. The survey results determined that 93.3 percent of respondents are pleased with their academic experience at the College, and 90.4 percent with the overall college experience. However, only 80.9 percent were satisfied with the College’s social life experience.

“Up in Charlottesville, the view of William and Mary is that going to William and Mary means your social life is dead,” BOV member Robert Scott J.D. ’68 said.

The state of class registration at the College was also covered at the meetings. At a forum Wednesday on registration, several students voiced frustration with the current Banner class registration system. Halleran said that the College is doing the best that it can to satisfy students.

“We are always trying to get students the classes they want,” Halleran said. “In some ways we have become too efficient which means you are driving out choice … so the choices are not as ample.”

Halleran also said that students had low expectations for class registration, but that the expectations could rise with the cost of tuition.

“Our students are reasonable. They basically do not expect to get all the classes they want,” Halleran said. “As expectations of students and parents rise, and as tuition rises, there are greater expectations of getting courses they want.”

The BOV meetings will conclude today in Blow Memorial Hall. The emphasis of the day is the financial position of the College.

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