Topics: Administrative, Board of Trustees

July 17, 2015

The Ball State Board of Trustees today approved a new $62.5 million health professions building that will consolidate health-related programs at the university.

The 2015 Indiana General Assembly recently approved Phase I of a multiphase project that would put health care programs in a new building on campus, followed by future renovation or replacement of facilities serving the remaining programs in the Cooper Science Complex. The General Assembly appropriated funding for construction of the new facility through bonding approval.

“Providing a contemporary teaching, research and clinic facility to educate the health care workers of the future is another significant demonstration of our commitment to serve our students as well as the citizens of Indiana,” said Ball State President Paul W. Ferguson. “This new building will provide a unique learning environment that will help foster collaboration and problem-solving across the health sciences disciplines.”

The new health professions building would consist of about 150,000 square feet of space and include classrooms, laboratories, offices, a resource hub, simulation labs/suites and clinical spaces, said Bernard Hannon, vice president for Business Affairs and treasurer. Although not finalized, tentative plans call for these spaces to be used by programs including, among others, nursing, health sciences, speech pathology and audiology, nutrition and dietetics, social work, the Social Science Resource Center, and athletic training.

Final site selection will not be determined until a project architect is selected, he added. Construction would begin no earlier than summer of 2016.

“The new facility would not only provide additional space for growth in these high-demand programs, but it also would foster collaboration between fields focused on patient care,” said Provost Terry King. “Currently, the various programs are spread across campus. Concentration of the related clinical spaces will strengthen both the academic training and community outreach programs offered, such as the counseling practicum clinic, neuropsychology laboratory, speech language clinic, audiology clinic and psychoeducational diagnostic intervention clinic.”

Also Friday, as part of the board’s ongoing work through the committee structure, the board adopted a set of financial principles that will help guide the university’s financial decisions. Intended as touchstones for decision-making, the principles will help keep the budget aligned with the university’s strategic plan.

Key points include keeping tuition increases no higher than needed to meet the strategic needs of the university and balance affordability and quality; reporting expenditures per student compared to inflation; and investing reserves in strategic objectives.

“These financial principles will be highly useful in assisting the board and President Ferguson to ensure that we continue to provide high quality education in the most cost-effective manner,” said Board Chair Rick Hall.

In other business, the board approved the 2015-16 budgets for various areas of the university, including the general fund, auxiliary funds and the Indiana Academy for Science, Mathematics and Humanities. The overall budget was approved in the trustees’ June meeting.

The board also discussed the proposed renewal of the university’s health care plans. The plans project only a 2 percent increase in premiums, which Hannon noted was substantially lower than the double-digit increases being levied in other organizations.