Board approves building projects, grants funds for scholarships

The UA System Board of Trustees met Friday and approved a number of building projects for the University and allocated more than $6 million for scholarships, which

includes a $3.5 million bequest from Betsy Ann Plank Rosenfield and a new $50,000 Nick Saban and Mark Ingram Endowed Athletic Scholarship in Intercollegiate Athletics at the Unvirsity.

The board approved preliminary plans for the North Bluff Residential Community, which will be placed behind the Riverside Residential Community. The committee also approved the planning of a new Student Recreation Center with a dining hall included in the complex.

However, there was some confusion regarding the demolition of Rose Towers by the working date of 2012. Tim Leopard, assistant vice president of construction administration, said the second phase of constructing North Bluff  — which will sit where Rose Towers currently sits- will not be completed for an extended period of time, but both phases will play into the bigger picture.

“The long term plan is for Rose to come offline,” Leopard said. “The big picture is when Rose comes off.”

When finished, both phases of the complex will house 984 students. President Robert Witt said North Bluff will not coincide with an enrollment increase, it will simply replace the older residence hall.

“The North Bluff Residential Community will replace older dorms with new residence halls,” Witt said. “It will not increase the total number of beds available on campus.”

The plan for the North Bluff parking lot totals 334 spaces, and Leopard said since only half of the complex will be built by 2012, parking will not be an immediate issue because the Riverside parking lot, Rose parking lot and the new 334-space parking lot will be available.

The board also approved the construction of a new campus police center, which will be placed behind the University’s Law School on Jefferson Avenue. Some trustees, however, expressed concerns about the center’s location relative to the main campus and its effect on police response time, but Leopard said police officers will be patrolling campus in their cars and will only be in the facility when changing shifts.

“Police need to be distributed,” Leopard said. “The building isn’t as important as visibility of the officers.”

Marietta M. Urquhart, a trustee from Mobile, posed questions concerning the building’s planned layout, specifically that it has one entrance/exit from the building to the parking lot and only one entrance/exit from the parking lot to Paul W. Bryant Drive.

“I never like anything that has only one way in and out,” Urquhart said, adding that her background in real estate made her more concerned than others. “Trustees should always pay attention and ask questions,” Urquhart said. “The trustees are always concerned with student safety.”

Leopard said an eventual fix for the parking lot entrance/exit issue is to connect it to the Coleman Coliseum parking lot.

Plans for renovating the Zeta Beta Tau fraternity house was also approved. The University plans to loan the fraternity $3.2 million for renovations, and the fraternity will pay them back through rental income and other charges to members of the fraternity.

Witt said the money to fund the renovation will come specifically from revenue bonds, not from tuition or state appropriation revenues.

“No state appropriations or tuition are used in the construction or repayment of Greek housing,” Witt said. “With this approach, the University can ensure that all on-campus housing is safe, built to specific codes and requirements, well-maintained and attractive and that the integrity of the campus is maintained.”

In addition to approving both the plans for the North Bluff residential community, the new campus police center and renovations to the ZBT fraternity house, the board voted to approve the plans for a fourth phase of the Science and Engineering Complex.

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