Topics: Administrative, Board of Trustees

July 21, 2017

Shafer Tower

Ball State University’s Board of Trustees today approved the first phase of a new north residential neighborhood designed to enhance student life and create a new campus gateway.

The project will feature a five-story residence hall, a stand-alone dining facility, and the realignment of McKinley Avenue. The changes are part of the university’s master plan that calls for replacing LaFollette Complex, which is being demolished in sections over the next few years.

“We are creating a 21st century living-learning environment for our students,” said Ball State President Geoffrey S. Mearns. “In the coming years, we will continue to add more facilities to ensure a welcoming new home for students and the educational resources they deserve.”

The new residence hall will accommodate about 500 students, primarily freshmen, and serve as the home of the STEM Living-Learning Community.

“These changes will complement the new health professions and science buildings on the campus’ eastern edge,” President Mearns said. “Our STEM students will have first-rate spaces to live and learn.”

Board Chair Rick Hall praised the plans.

“As my fellow alumni and I can personally attest, a Ball State education involves much more than just books and classrooms,” he said. “These new facilities provide a ‘best in class’ environment in which our students can learn from one another, laugh together, form lasting relationships, and ultimately develop into well-rounded graduates.”

McKinley Avenue will be realigned to better define the north entrance to campus. The project will enhance pedestrian and vehicular safety by eliminating some of the sight and speed issues at the current curve. The realigned McKinley Avenue will feature a roundabout, medians, a bus pullout, and a bus stop.

The stand-alone dining facility will incorporate eight micro-restaurants offering various food concepts. The second story of the building will house administrative offices for Dining Services and Housing and Residence Life. These administrative units are currently housed in LaFollette and Carmichael Hall, which is also designated for demolition under the campus master plan.

University officials will now seek necessary state approvals to proceed with the project.

In his review of upcoming events, President Mearns announced the State Budget Committee will meet on campus Sept. 21-22.

“We are grateful our elected officials recognize our successes,” he said. “Their support allows us to keep tuition affordable for our students and their families. This led to the smallest tuition increase in 40 years.”

Mearns also pointed out the Health Professions Building is another visible sign of state support. The site at Riverside Avenue and Martin Street is being prepared for construction, which is expected to start this Fall.

In other business, the board discussed health insurance plans for 2018-19. It also approved a new contract with AFSCME Local 293 and the 2017-18 budgets for various areas of the university, including the general fund, auxiliary funds, and the Indiana Academy for Science, Mathematics, and Humanities.