The Ball State University Board of Trustees on Friday, in its final meeting of the 2023-24 academic year, reappointed Mark Ervin to the Muncie Community Schools (MCS) Board of Trustees.

Also at Friday’s meeting, the Board approved the budget, scope, and naming of the University’s new Eric Foss Championship Performance Center, and the naming of the Rhonda Newport Kaspar Stage and Timothy M. Andrews Monumental Stair within the new Performing Arts Center.

“As we anticipate the successful conclusion of another academic year, we are filled with gratitude,” Ball State Board Chair Rick Hall said. “We extend our sincere thanks to Mark Ervin, a Ball State graduate and member of the appointed Muncie Community Schools Board since its formation. We wish him continued success in guiding our city schools. We’re also grateful to Eric Foss, Rhonda and Robert Kaspar, and Timothy Andrews for their outstanding support of our new athletics and fine arts facilities.”

As part of its historic partnership with MCS, which began in July 2018 to provide excellent public education to every student in Muncie, the University appointed a seven-member governing board for the school district. Mr. Ervin, an attorney at Beasley & Gilkison LLP, serves on the MCS Board alongside WaTasha Barnes Griffin, Dave Heeter, Jim Lowe, Keith O’Neal, and James Williams.

The school district, under the direction of its board and the leadership of Dr. Lee Ann Kwiatkowski, CEO and director of public education at MCS, has ushered in several significant positive changes over the last five-plus years, including increased enrollment and substantial increases in teacher compensation, which has propelled MCS to being among the highest-paying districts in the East Central Indiana region.

“The success of our University’s collaboration with Muncie Community Schools is a source of pride, and Mark has played an important role in executing our collective vision for the district,” Ball State President Geoffrey S. Mearns said of Mr. Ervin, who earned bachelor’s degrees in political science and economics and a master’s degree in executive development for public service from Ball State. “I remain grateful to Mark and the entire MCS Board for their continued commitment to Muncie’s children.”

Ball State’s Board of Trustees on Friday also approved a $7.8 million construction budget for the University’s new Eric Foss Championship Performance Center (CPC), a 10,000-square-foot strength and conditioning facility that will be adjacent to Worthen Arena and the Dr. Don Shondell Practice Center.

In addition to connectivity to the existing buildings, the CPC will have accessory program areas including office, nutrition, athletic training, recovery, and storage and building services for 18 of the University’s 19 athletic teams, with the football team continuing to use its own facility. The current strength and performance facility in Worthen Arena will be repurposed for other uses to be determined at a later date.

Substantial donor support has already been committed to the CPC, including a gift of $4 million from Eric Foss—a 1980 Ball State graduate and former chairman and CEO of Aramark.

Pending state approvals, construction on the CPC is expected to begin in February 2025 and could be completed by late 2025 or early 2026.

“We are grateful to Eric for his generosity,” said Ball State Director of Athletics Jeff Mitchell. “Eric enjoys a legacy of enriching organizations and leading them to record growth, and his family’s impact on our student-athletes will have a similar transformative influence as they pursue a new level of excellence in the Eric Foss Championship Performance Center.

Friday’s approved namings of the Rhonda Newport Kaspar Stage and the Timothy M. Andrews Monumental Stair are the latest developments for Ball State’s new Performing Arts Center (PAC). The venue, which will connect to a new boutique hotel, will be the catalyst for the University’s revitalization plan for The Village, the commercial district located immediately adjacent to campus.

The Rhonda Newport Kaspar Stage is in the PAC’s main theatre, which will have seating for 425 patrons. It is named for 1981 Ball State graduates and longtime donors Rhonda and Robert Kaspar, who have committed a gift of $2.5 million to support the PAC.

The Timothy M. Andrews Monumental Stair will be located in the lobby of the PAC, a venue that will bring people together for both theatre and dance while providing a space for the Ball State and Muncie communities to congregate and socialize. The monumental stair’s namesake, Timothy Andrews, president and CEO of Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI) and a 1984 Ball State graduate, contributed $1 million to the PAC.

“I am grateful for the continued support of Rhonda and Robert Kaspar and of Timothy Andrews, generous benefactors of our University who share a passion for the arts,” President Mearns said. “When complete, the Performing Arts Center will highlight the skills of our Theatre and Dance students and serve as a dynamic entryway to our vibrant campus for the Muncie and East Central Indiana communities.”

Construction on the $60 million PAC project, which will be located on the northeast corner of University and McKinley Avenues in Muncie, is scheduled to begin in Fall 2024 and to be completed by Fall 2026.