Town and Gown: Vision 2020 Forum


Good evening folks. Evening. That’s a warm welcome
from our community. Commissioner Blythe
how are you sir? We’ve got a seat for
you right over here. [LAUGHING] He’s trying to sit [INAUDIBLE]. Well, good evening, and welcome. My name’s David McFadden. I’m the executive director
for regional engagement and regional stewardship at EKU. We are excited to have you here
tonight for our Town and Gown Vision 2020 Forum. This is an event that grew
out of our strategic planning initiative from a campus
level, from a community level, as l served as the
president of the chamber. There was definitely
a lot of feedback about wanting to have more
engagement with the university and understanding where
our master plan is, where we’re going
as we move forward. We’ve got a lot of
new faces who are here with us from the university side
from the President’s Council. We are very happy to have many
of our local elected officials here with us tonight,
and specifically, our county and city
government; an opportunity to have a dialogue about where
we’re going as a community, how we make Madison County,
Richmond, a better place to live, to work, and to
raise a family every day. And that’s what we’re
all committed to. For that, we’re very thankful. Mayor Jim Barnes–
Mayor, thank you for being here with us tonight. [APPLAUSE] Commissioner Robert Blythe. [APPLAUSE] Commissioner Donna Bayard. [APPLAUSE] Commissioner Jim [INAUDIBLE]. [APPLAUSE] And Commissioner
Jason [INAUDIBLE]. [APPLAUSE] Thank you to the city commission
and our elected officials for being here. This is very important
for us to have you here, and we appreciate
your time very much. From our county government,
Judge Executive Reagan Taylor, thank you for being here. [APPLAUSE] Our Deputy Judge
Executive, Colleen Chaney. [APPLAUSE] And Magistrate John
Tudor with us tonight. [APPLAUSE] Several of our other magistrates
had other commitments. We’ve got one magistrate
who works the late shift, so he couldn’t be with us. But we do appreciate
the county government. We feel like this is definitely
a city, county, campus project as we move forward, and
we really look forward to having the opportunity
to work with the county and with the city government. I want to quickly
introduce some of the folks that I have the pleasure
to work with every day. It is truly a great
pleasure to work at EKU and have an opportunity to
work with great individuals who have a commitment
to our institution and to our communities. Our provost and Chief
Academic Affairs Officer, Dr. Janna Vice. [APPLAUSE] Our Executive Vice President for
Student Success and University Counsel, Miss Laurie Carter. [APPLAUSE] Our VP for Finance
and Administration, Mr. Barry [? Porter. ?] [APPLAUSE] And our VP for Development,
Mr. Nick Perlick. [APPLAUSE] Mr. Matt [INAUDIBLE] is our
new Deputy Athletics Director and Special Counsel
to the President. [APPLAUSE] And of course, our President,
Dr. Michael Benson. [APPLAUSE] I’d be remiss if I did not
recognize a couple of members of our Board of Regents
who are tonight– Mr. Alan Long, from Richmond. [APPLAUSE] Our staff regent,
Mr. Brian Makinen. [APPLAUSE] And I think Amy has
already departed for New York City, so our
faculty representative is not with us tonight. Representative, [INAUDIBLE]
Smart is also with us tonight. Represent Smart, thank
you for joining us. [APPLAUSE] Tonight’s a big night. It’s a chance for us to share
our vision for the campus, for the community, and how
we might work together. We truly appreciate your
presence here tonight, and we hope that as we
move through the agenda tonight and have a
chance for Dr. Benson to share that vision, to
share some of the things that are really going to change
the face of our campus and the face of our community,
that we have a chance to engage in some
robust dialogue, once we get through
that opportunity. So once Dr. Benson
finishes, I’ll come back up. We’ll have a little Q
& A as we have a chance to have that
communication that sharing of information and ideas. We hope to really gather some
information from this group to take back as we finalize
our university’s strategic plan as we move forward. With that, I’m going
to turn it over to Dr. Michael Benson, 13th
President of the University of Eastern Kentucky. [APPLAUSE] Is there anyone we did
not introduce tonight? That was a lot funnier when the
governor said it the first time I heard it. It’s great to be here. Thank you all for caring out
some time on a Tuesday night to be with us. As David said, we believe this
is a really significant moment for our university. As a historian, I’m going
to use some examples throughout my PowerPoint
tonight that I hope will illustrate just what
a pivot point, that fulcrum moment this is for our
campus and for our community. I want to echo what David said. I’m really grateful to have
on my right and on my left our elected officials. I don’t think I’ll
ever run for office. Who knows, maybe someday. But I have enormous
respect for people that do. I don’t always agree with them. That’s the give and
take that we have in our democratic republic. But they voluntarily
choose to be away from their jobs,
and their families, and other responsibilities
to go to meetings, and to go to hearings, and
to serve on our behalf. I think we owe them all in a
tremendous debt of gratitude. Again, we don’t
always see eye to eye. But I hope that you know that we
appreciate what you do for us, and it’s great to have
you all here tonight. If I can start
with a few slides, you’ve heard me talk throughout,
and it’s almost been two years now, what I call the three P’s–
people, programs, and places. I’ll touch on the
first two briefly. But tonight, we really want to
talk about the sense of place. What does it mean to be at
Eastern Kentucky University? I don’t want this conversation
of being focused solely on our campus either. Remember that we have beautiful
branch campuses in Corbin and Manchester,
another satellite operations in
Danville and Somerset, and soon to be in a
new one in Lancaster. But tonight, we really will
focus in on Richmond and what it means here in our community. If I can, I’d like to really
follow this agenda or this outline, if I might, touch on
the three P’s– give a little bit of the economy of Kentucky. The reason I want
to bring that up, I just came from a really
outstanding program I was fortune to somehow
sneak in, Leadership Kentucky. We had our orientation
session this last week at Shaker Village,
and a presentation was given by a retired
professor of economics from U of L named
Professor Coombs. He gave some really
interesting statistics about our commonwealth. He called them the nine
regions of Kentucky, and it made me think of a book
I read several years ago called, The Nine Nations
of North America. It was written ran back
in the early 1980s. Interestingly enough, the
author crafts in his argument that North America is
made up of these very nine distinctive areas. Interestingly
enough, Kentucky is listed in what they
call Dixie, which is next to the Foundry, which
is next to the Bread Basket. So as you know, Kentucky is
one of those interesting states where we straddle
several different lines. But in his remarks
to us last week, talked about these nine areas. As you’ll see, the areas
that are doing well all have one common denominator,
and that is robust four year public institution. That is something I think
we should be terribly grateful for right here
in our home county, not only to have EKU, but as
my good friend, [INAUDIBLE], tells me all the time he’s
got the best job in America, I maintain I do. But down there,
at Berea College, to have a college as unique
as Berea just down the road is a tremendous benefit
to us here in our county. Next. I’ll talk a little bit about EKU
and its impact on our county. In terms of dollars and cents,
what kind of economic impact do we have, in terms of as an
institution and as employees? Next, I want to really focus
in the majority of my remarks tonight on campus
revitalization, how we’re going to very
intentionally breathe new life into our campus. I hope tonight that you’ll
leave with a renewed sense of optimism that EKU has
got its best days ahead of it. I’m a firm believer that I have
the great benefit of building on what is in place. I’ve been preceded by some
very, very capable leaders. Nothing we do here
is in a vacuum. People have sacrificed a
great deal for this university and for this community, and so
I really paid homage to them. But we’re going to talk about
the president of the future and then wrap up
with what I hope is a robust discussion and
comments from all of you this evening. We had a chance today just
to visit with the firm that we fired to help
us do our master plan. And Janna Vice, who I maintain
is the nicest woman I’ve ever met in my life, next
to my wife, Debbie, she brought up the point,
which I was a very good one. We’ve done master
planning before, but never have they coalesced
or coincided with the university strategic plan. I hope you’ve been
paying attention. We’ve had several different
open fora, open meetings. But you can go
online and read what has distilled down from Matt,
how many meetings have we had? A lot. A lot. Yes, that’s the scientific
term for a lot of meetings. But from this strategic
plan, we are focusing really on four things. So I hope tonight you’ll commit
to memory what those four are. Then there’s an
overarching one that really helps us do
whatever we want to do here at the university
within the confines of a budget. I know Barry appreciates my
saying that right from the get go. But the first thing in
our plan– well, a couple just popped up. The first is that we want to
focus on academic distinction. I believe a
successful institution in the 21st first
century, particularly a public institution, has got
to carve out a niche for itself. You cannot be duplicative. You cannot be redundant. You have to say to prospective
students, faculty, staff, donors, legislators,
we offer something wholly unique with the
programs that we focus on and that we do
particularly well. The second thing is we’re going
to launch here very shortly a comprehensive capital
fundraising campaign, the biggest in our
history, the most ambitious that we’ve ever done. It may be modest
by some standards, but for us, it’s
going to be a stretch. It’s a stretch goal that I
fully anticipate and fully expect that we will exceed. Next, or the third
prong of the plan is the campus
revitalization, which will be an area of focus tonight. And next, I keep hitting
the wrong button here, enrollment management. What are we doing to focus
on our number one asset? We’re only here at
the Eastern Kentucky University because of one
group, and that is students. What are we doing to retain
them, to recruit them, to retain them, and to graduate
them, and hopefully, help them get gainful employment. Now, this last one,
as I mentioned, is all within the parameters
of financial stability and being very keen stewards
and effective stewards of the resources
that are given to us. So that is our master
strategic plan, in a nutshell. To remind us again, the
most important asset we have are people– people I see
every day, the hope that I see in the faces of our students. I have the good fortune
of walking around campus and seeing the hope
of the 21st century. If you think the world is
going to hell in a hand basket, and if you watch the
news on a nightly basis, you’d be inclined
to think that it is, I’d invite you to come up
to campus sometime and spend some time with our students. They will give you
hope for the future. We have the extreme good
fortune to associate with them on a daily basis. We see them everywhere. They’re full of vim, and
vigor, and anticipation for what lies ahead. It really falls to us to provide
the best possible education and put them in a
position to be successful. I said at my inauguration
that I would rather err on the side of giving
every single student the chance to succeed, and maybe to
cut them a little more slack than might be anticipated. Not to say to coddle
them, because believe me, we’re around some students–
helicopter parents of the 21st century
are unlike anything you’ve probably ever seen. But still in all, our job
is to put these young people in a position to be successful. Our programs really
speak for themselves. I won’t go through
the recent accolades that some of our
programs have gotten, but suffice it to say, whether
it’s aviation, or our nurse practitioner program,
or our forensic science, our criminal justice
programs, they are time and again,
being recognized for how exceptional they are. We got a word from Baptist
South just the other day. They said, you turn
out more practitioners, and we will hire them. Number one, you’ve got the
best program of the state. Number two, there is
an acute need for them all over the commonwealth
and all over our region. Of course, our fire safety
program, our nursing program. I think it was really
captured, this last graduation, which you know was
the first one we’ve had outside for quite some time
with the double rainbow that somehow occurred, just as
Lieutenant Governor Crit Luallen and the
rest of the party was walking out on the field. To have that academic
celebration of the year conclude with that
was a wonderful thing. We intend to do it again,
so just mark your calendars for next year. Next May, we’ll hope for
the weather to hold again. But that’s something
we’d like to do. That picture on the top left
is our incoming freshman class of last year. The number that I hope that
you’ll remember is 2,500. That’s a number that
we try to target every single year for our
incoming freshman class. Our job, of course, is try and
retain that number of students. But if we can get that
number through the door, we believe we have in
place a sound foundation to allow us to grow at the
level that we want to grow. That bottom right
picture, of course, is alumni coliseum, which
poses a real challenge for us, in terms of our
graduation ceremonies. We don’t have a place to
hold everybody that graduates and their families. So this year was
a pilot program. But if you have complaints,
just see Tina Davis after the program tonight. Tina, you want to
raise your hand? [LAUGHING] Just a bit about
academic excellence. I won’t take a lot of time,
but there’s some things that we should all be proud of. For the fifth
consecutive year, we’ve been ranked in the top tier
of regional universities in the south. Military friendly school–
we have a reputation of being incredibly
friendly to veterans, and that will continue. We will really focus on that. America’s best
colleges– the fact we have 125,000 living
alumni, that is not an inconsequential number. There are a lot of
colonels out there. I touch on athletics just
briefly, just to showcase. I mention history. About four weeks
ago, five weeks ago, we made history with
three of our teams qualifying for the
NCAA a regionals in the span of seven days. That has never, ever
happened before, and it was in the form of our
men’s tennis team, our women’s golf team, and our
men’s golf team. They all won conference
championships in the span of seven days,
which had never been done by teams from Eastern Kentucky. It led, of course, to our
third Commissioner’s Cup in four years and
our second straight. So needless to say, we are
dominating the OVC when it comes to our student athletes. But even more importantly,
as it relates to our APR, our Academic Progress Rate,
and our graduation rate and retention rates for
our student athletes. So we’re very,
very proud of that. Let me talk for just a second
about the sense of place. But as I do that,
use as a lead in, some the statistics I mention
from Professor Coombs. The only reason I do this is
it really, again, I believe, highlights some of the
unique aspects of what we have in Madison County. We are located right next
to a major interstate, and the one thing you can’t
change in life is geography. We’ll always be in the shadow,
some would argue, of UK, and what UK does
is their business. But we have so many
things to our advantage that I like to focus on tonight. The first, as it relates
to the statistics that Professor Coombs shared. Those are the nine
regions, and you can see some of the overlap. But we are lumped in with the
Lexington area for a couple reasons. One is that the Census
Bureau, if the slide will advance– where
should I point this? Should I point it at you? OK, right there. The census bureau,
and you probably can’t read some of that text. But for example, Frankfurt,
and Mount Sterling, and Richmond are considered
micropolitan areas, and they are lumped in
with the Lexington, what they call a consolidated
statistical area, which is the case for several
different parts of our state. So when we talk about
Lexington tonight, think of Madison
County and Richmond, because we’re within that
county, within that region. So here are the nine
economic regions. You’ve got to the far
west, Paducah and Purchase, up along the Ohio River there,
Owensboro and Henderson. Down below that,
which is of course, the farming belt of the state,
Bowling Green and Hopkinsville. Louisville really is
known as the major center of labor and manufacturing. To the south of us,
of course, Cumberland. We’re right there in the center
there, the green shaded area. Just north of us is
Northern Kentucky, which is you’ll find out on a
second, is the most densely populated part of our state. Then the two most
sparsely populated, the ones really
facing some challenges are Ashland and the
mountain region. We’ll talk a bit about why that
is the case in just a second. So of the nine regions that
is the most densely populated, which one would you say it is? Northern Kentucky. I gave that one
away, so put it on. That will be on the
quiz, but you got it. Way to go. Let’s try another one. Here you go. This is the density of
population per square mile. You can see where
northern Kentucky is here on the far left,
Louisville and Lexington. You can see Kentucky
on average, you’ve got 109 people per square mile. Look at what is happening on
the far right of that graph. The tail ends of the state,
Paducah and the mountain region are shrinking. Population density by county,
and we are in the top 20. I won’t count now,
but we’re about what? 2/3 of the way down there, you
can see there Madison County. The top three counties
are 30 times more dense than the sparsest counties. Now, Professor Coombs talked
about how a densely populated area has the economies
of scale that you just don’t have in rural areas. It costs you less to get
goods and services in. Infrastructure is usually
far more advanced, and there’s some
advantages to being in an urban area or
a populated area. Of the nine regions, which
has the least population growth this decade? I’ve given that one away too,
but it is the mountain area. You’ll see why or how
this has happened. Look at Louisville. The population changed. From 2010 to 2014, this
is net in migration. 35,000, we’re in
there with Lexington. Then Ashland and Mountain are
on the other side of that scale. As a whole, we had a net in
migration of 74,000 people. So that’s fairly
healthy– that’s what? Two or three Richmonds,
isn’t it Mr. Mayor? But you can see the
declining population, the tails of the state. Population change– you can see
who’s had the largest growth. Lexington, Northern Kentucky,
and Louisville, Bowling Green. Remember I mentioned
the four areas with the common denominator
have a robust four year public institution. Let’s go to the next one. Howard, if you would please. Natural population
increase– this is just births minus deaths. So who has the most
robust population growth, just in those terms? You can again see the
bottom of the scale. More deaths than births. These are demographics
this should be concerning to every county
really in our state, but particularly, ones that
are facing some real acute challenges. I’ll skip that one. That’s hard to read, so
we’ll go to the next one. I think I’ve got another
quiz coming up here. Here we go. Which region has had the
strongest job growth since the bottom of the 2008
and ’09 recession? Here are your options. Lexington, Bowling
Green, Paducah, Ashland. Lexington. Lexington. Allen, why do you
think that’s the case? Go back one. [INAUDIBLE] It does not at all. [INAUDIBLE] and you pay most
of them here. [INAUDIBLE]. You can see the
employment growth since the bottom of the last
recession in all industries. So on the left side of
the scale, Lexington. Right next to us
is the mountains, where they’ve had what
is that, a 10.6% decline. You can see Cumberland,
Bowling Green, Hopkinsville. By the way, this presentation,
I believe, is being taped, but I’ll put the
PowerPoint on our website, because I think the data
is very, very important, and I hope it’s helpful. Employment rate by region. Percentage of your population
who is gainfully employed and willfully employed. So look at that at
Northern Kentucky. Again, densely populated. This is a per capita, of course,
so you have to factor in, as well. We’ll go to the next one. Which of the nine regions has
the highest government payroll per capita? I got this one wrong. I’ve only been here
two years, so you native sons and daughters
should get this right. Lexington, Bowling
Green, Louisville, or the mountain region? Anybody? Highest government payroll? I was surprised by this. It is Bowling Green. Why do you think
that’s the case? What do they have right there
on the Tennessee border? Fort Campbell. I understand that Fort
Campbell is half and half, but the payroll operation goes
through the Kentucky side. You can see what
I’m talking about. Bowling Green and Hopkinsville,
Fort Campbell– of course, they have Frankfurt. Frankfurt also is in the
Lexington circle of demography, and then Fort Knox in
the Louisville area. Just a couple of my last
ones, and these bring us back. Now, I’ll focus on
education, but specifically, attainment rates. Which region has the highest
rate of high school graduates? What do you think it is? Lexington, Owensboro, Northern
Kentucky, or Bowling Green? Janna said Northern Kentucky. Anybody want to go
with Bowling Green? Again, per capita,
Northern Kentucky. Now, look at the
percentage of our citizens. On the right side
of the scale, we are in the 83rd
percentile of high school graduates in Kentucky. That’s something to
be pretty proud of. National average is 86%. We could do better. But look where we fall in
Lexington, Richmond, about 84%. So very, very close
to the state average. This next slide is the one
that concerns me the most. Not this one, but
the one after this. Which region has the highest
rate of college graduates? Which one do you
think has the highest rate of college graduates? We do. Again, when you
factor in UK, U of L, David told me the other
day, within a 60 mile radius, how many institutions
of higher ed are there? 14. 14. So that probably
is a determinant in that particular statistic. This is the slide
that is concerning. This is the percentage of adults
in our state with a bachelor’s degree or higher. We’ll actually drill
down to Madison County in just a second. But we’ve gone now from the
83rd percentile of high school graduates, and
we’ve plummeted now to 22% in Kentucky, which is
a full six percentage points below the national average. Now the thing I
love about Kentucky is there are points
of entry for people all across a very broad spectrum
of educational opportunities– from the community college,
to a private institution, to a state institution like
EKU, to a large research one institution. But I would argue an
economy in the 21st century has got to be based on a
population with some post secondary certificate,
preferably a degree, whether it’s an associates,
a bachelor’s, or an advanced degree. Every single demographic,
or every single longitudinal study backs up that argument. An economy for the
next century has got to be based on
an educated populace. I would conclude this
section with this statement. It is a great time to
be in Madison County. We have an opportunity that
is really unique, where our situation, our population,
the university, all these things are
coming together, I believe, to make a tremendous
impact on our communities writ large throughout our county. Now, what is the impact of
Eastern on our community? Let me just share a
couple of things with you as it relates to
our total enrollment and our current living
alumni in Madison county. Now, we’ve got a number
that I wasn’t quite sure was accurate, so I didn’t
include it tonight, and that was the percentage
of our incoming freshman class that is actually
from Madison County. It’s actually smaller
than you might think. We need to do a
better job, I think, getting kids from Madison
Central and even Madison Southern. But a lot of kids, that
if they grow up here, they want to go off to college
and have that experience. I completely understand that. But let’s say it’s
a 5% to 10%, which is probably pretty generous. That means we are bringing into
our community roughly 16,000, 15,800 non residents of Madison
County who are paying rent, buying gasoline, buying
groceries, having a direct economic impact on
our economy on an annual basis. You may not be able to
read the fine print. If you can, then good for you. But this gives you an idea
of what the expenditures are as an institution,
in terms of we’ve got capital expenditures
on the right. We’ve got total maintenance
here the 12 million, the total scholarships,
and the total, in terms of general
and administration at the university. Now, the number to keep
in mind is $187 million of annual expenditures
here on campus. What impact does that
have on our community? For the city of Richmond, we pay
roughly into the city coffers, over $2 million. The state of Kentucky
gets $5.6 million. And this one, I think,
is very encouraging. While the, as I said, the
state average or percentage of the population with
a bachelor’s degree is 21%, 22%, in Madison,
we’re almost 27%. So I think Mr. Mayor, I think
that bodes well for the future. You can see how our
total employment, over 3,000 employees, and our
total compensation of payroll, almost $125 million. A couple of historical things
that I want to touch on. Nick and his crew
celebrate today, and we’re still counting
money, because it will continue to come in,
even after June the 30th. But we had the biggest
fundraising year, in terms of net receipts
to our development office that we’ve had in 12 years. That’s something to be proud,
so way to go development office. [APPLAUSE] That $4 million is about
half of where we need to be. We need to be between I would
argue, $10 to $12 million a year of private dollars being
brought into the institution. This next one is something that
I think I’m the most proud of. We have right now, for
the incoming freshman class coming to EKU, the highest
GPA and the highest ACT scores. So that cumulative,
what we call an index, the highest on record. Is that true Laurie? That is true. So that is something we should
be very proud of, because what does that lead to? The more prepared a student
is when they get here, Billy, what happens to them? They stay. As John Calipari would say,
they succeed and proceed. That has a different
meaning for them. But for us, it means
they stay here, and they graduate, and they
go on, and we hope, get a job. This last little one, we’re one
of the top 125 stem, science, technology, engineering,
and math institutions in the country. That is from Victory Media
that just named us that just a little while ago. Look at the capital projects
that are currently underway. I see Eric Zabilka. Eric, raise your hand. Eric, from Omni Architects,
been a great partner in both phases one and two. But look at the economic impact
that the science building is going to have or will
have on our community. All the suppliers, all
the subcontractors, all the hourly waged employment,
all the direct impact that this project will
have on our campus. Another one that I’ll
talk about tonight is the east side project
over at Roy Kidd Stadium. While it’s not nearly as large
in scale as Science phase two, still in all, you
can see the impact that it’s going to
have on our community, in terms of wages and supplies. A couple other things that
I want to talk about as it relates to place. This photograph, I think,
captures the campus as was built during the
Robert R. Martin days. I’ll show you a slide here that
in many ways, illustrates that. I didn’t know him,
but I’ve heard a lot of stories about him. He’s one person
I wish I had met, larger than life in many ways. You can see him down
the bottom right. That’s the Present
of Morehead State, and they’re fighting over the
rifle they used to exchange, but this is a different day. We don’t exchange
rifles anymore. But he oversaw a building
boom that had never been seen at Eastern Kentucky. This chart I think helps give
you an illustration of what I’m talking about. If you trace our origins back
to 1906, and there’s a debate I know between 1874 and
1906, and my preference is to go even older, because
that would make us older than both Morehead and Western. So there’s some value
in being more mature. But if you go back to 1906,
look at where our square footage was, in terms of millions. It will remain static. And Robert R. Martin
arrived here in what year? 1960. You had almost a four
or five-fold increase in square footage. The challenge we
face now is that we are dealing with an
infrastructure that is five and six decades old. There was a tremendous
boom to accommodate all the GIs coming
back and students that wanted to be in college. But that infrastructure starting
to get old and get tired. Our task is to
revitalize our campus. To get to this point, there’s
some people I want to thank. You’re going to see a lot images
tonight from Murphy graves. Steve Graves is here. Steve, can you raise your hand? Steve has been a great
friend to the university, and you’ll see a
lot of the images that he’s helped
us with as we begin to work some of the
building spaces on campus and try to make things tie-in. Also, I want to introduce
the firm of HEWV, all the way from Blacksburg, Virginia. Can you all raise your hands? These are the folks that
are going to help us with our campus master plan. They’ll be back in the
fall for an open forum with our community they launched
just yesterday on campus, and we’re really excited
to work with them. We’ve had a lot donors
step forward and help us. The elected officials have
been incredibly helpful. Is Caroll McGill here? Caroll– Caroll stand up,
will you please Carol? How long have you worked
for the state Caroll? 20 years. Caroll is retiring
here next month, and he’s been a wonderful
friend and partner. I know Malcolm, backed me up
on that with Science phase one. Caroll, we thank you very
much for your service. We’ve also had great
contractors to work with and our very own EKU personnel. I want to thank our facilities
folks for how hard they work. Can I have all of our
facilities folks stand up? I see Ron here. Come on Ed, stand up. Ronnie, Chris. There we go. [APPLAUSE] I hope we never take
for granted how hard it is to maintain a
campus this size, and this diverse, and complex,
but we’re very grateful. So a lot of folks have
helped us get to this point. I would argue that now is
our community’s finest hour. I’m going to use an example
of one of my heroes, Winston Churchill. He once said– and
pardon me for reading it, but it’s worth stating. To every man or woman
comes that special moment when he has figuratively
tapped on the shoulder and offered the chance to do
a special thing unique to him and fitted to his talent. What a tragedy if
that moment finds him unprepared or unqualified
for the work which would be his finest hour? I hope I’m a man of faith. I believe I am. I believe I’m here with my
colleagues and all of you at a really unique
moment in history. It didn’t just
happen, “because.” It’s not happenstance. We are here together
to work together on behalf of an
institution that will be here far beyond our
tenure and be on our service to this great institution. It really falls to us to take
advantage of this moment, because I don’t know if
we’ll ever get it again. I really don’t. One of my other heroes is
this gentleman right here. Mr. Burnam said a
lot of great things and a lot of interesting things. But one that he
said as it relates to make no little plans,
and I won’t take the time to read the whole thing, but the
last paragraph about remember that our sons, and
grandsons, and granddaughters are going to do things
which will stagger us. Let your watchword be order
and your beacon, beauty. What we build here is going
to be looked to as an example. I hope that our
watchword was beauty, and we want to leave
something far beyond our time at this campus. Does anybody know who this is? Anybody? Anybody want to
take a stab at that? This is my last
historical example as we lead into what
we want to do now. This is William J. Fields,
and he was the governor of Kentucky in the 1920s. I did not know who he
was until last Thursday night, when Professor
James Klotter of Georgetown spoke to us at
leadership Kentucky. Before he talked about
Governor Fields, I asked him. I said, as Americans,
we love lists. We’re always talking about
the top 10 or the top 25. If you had to rank your top
five Kentuckians of all time, who would they be? Now, I’ll ask this group. Who do you think he
put as number one? Henry Clay. Interesting enough, his
biography of Henry Clay is coming out next month
with Oxford University Press, and it is by all accounts,
the definitive work, cradle to grave on he said, the
greatest statesman in Kentucky history, and probably one of
the greatest Americans ever. Number two, Robert Penn Warren. From Guthrie, Kentucky,
the only writer who’s won a Pulitzer Prize
for both fiction and poetry. He wrote a great book
called All the King’s Men, and hailed from Kentucky. Number three, we have a
real affinity for him here. We’ve got a statue
of him, Daniel Boone. Number four, a woman I
didn’t know much about. I’ve done a little
research on her since, Madeline McDowell Breckenridge,
a progressive movement leader and a wonderful sufferagist
who at age 20, lost her leg. Think about it. This is the 19-teens, 1920s. For most people, that would
be absolutely devastating. She was fitted
with a wooden leg, and that didn’t stop her at all. He said, one of the
greatest females, and one of the greatest
Kentuckians ever. Then his fifth
greatest Kentuckian was John Marshall Harlan,
the Great Dissenter, who was the lone dissenting
vote in the Supreme Court case, Plessy versus Ferguson. Those are incredible people. He talked about
them in his talk, but then he talked about
William J. Fields in the context of lost opportunities. He said Kentuckians have
accomplished a great deal. But unfortunately, we can
also be described as a group, as a state, that has lost out
on some wonderful opportunities. He focused on four. I’m only going to
talk about one, and it has to do with
this gentleman right here. He was the governor
in the 1920s. In 1924, the sitting governor,
he was an accidental governor, because the party’s nominee
died of appendicitis. The Democratic Party got
together and said, here’s our guy, and he won. He called himself Honest
Bill from Olive Hill, but his opponent– and
this is what I like. His opponent called
him Didging Bill from Olive Hill who answers
no questions and never will. [LAUGHS] Mr. Mayor, you may want
to use that sometime. I’ll make a note. When he was in
office, he decided that it was time for
Kentucky to be bold. Now, granted, put yourself in
the historical moment, here early 1920s, 1924. He proposed a bond
issuance of $75 million. Now, the state budget at
the time was $25 million. So if you keep the same
ratios, if he were alive today, it would be a bond
issuance of $20 billion. He said, we are going
to issue these bonds, and they’re going to go for
roads, charitable institutions, schools, and prisons. Guess what? The state legislature passed it. It bifurcated the state. The Louisville papers
were against it. The Lexington
papers were for it. It did pass the legislature,
but it then had to go to a vote to the public, and it
lost by 90,000 votes. Professor Klotter said this. He said, it became
an urban/rural split, and as the road poor
and education poor areas supported it, the
urban places did not. The vote came,
and the bond issue went down by 90,000 votes. For a long time
afterwards, Kentucky would be called
the detour state, and its school houses would
be poor matches for its horse barns. Think about what would have
happened if that bond issue had passed, and Kentucky had
built an infrastructure to rival anything
in the country? I don’t want us to look
back on our time here at EKU and think what could
have been, what might have been if we’d
been bold, and full of hope, and vision, and temerity. What I’d like to talk
about to conclude, and then we’ll open it up
to questions and comments, is to talk a little
bit about this proposed center for student life. I see a few students here. We had the students that
voted in support of a fee to support really two projects,
the renovation of a student union, and the construction
of a new recreation center. Those are the core of what
we’re doing to renovate this part of campus. But it’s much more than that. So I’d like to begin by showing
you what we’re talking about. If you can see, from this
diagram, this epicenter of campus, if I were a freshman,
and I lived in McGregor Hall, chances are, I
could get everything within about a 300 meter
radius of what I need. From food, and dining, to
counseling, to the registrar’s office over in the
Whitlock building, to recreation opportunities
in Weaver, to the library, to going to class, to going
to the student union– it’s all right there. Now, as you can see, a
lot of those buildings are looking a little
old and little decrepit. That’s what we’re talking
about, is to revitalize this middle of campus. So when you hear the phrase,
a center for student life, it’s much bigger than the two
projects I just mentioned, the rec center and the
renovation of the Powell building. We’re also talking about
new residence halls, and we are going to do on a
much smaller scale, like they did at UK, with public private
partnerships, where we put out, and it’s I think
gone out already, or in the process of going
out, RFP to, we hope, entice firms to bid on maybe
three, maybe fewer than that, but $75 million worth
of brand new beds to replace our old bed inventory
that we currently have. Now, you may have heard that
with our last Board of Regents meeting, we had our board
approve the demolition of Martin, Todd, and Dupree. As you could imagine, we
had a lot of Greek students call my office and other places,
worried that they had no place to live next fall. They were safe for several
months, if not years. Our challenge
really is, and this is where we’re going
to work with our firms and our planners. Paul [INAUDIBLE]– Paul,
will you please stand up? Paul starts tomorrow, and
I want to thank Ed Herzog for his years of service. Paul is going to be our
facilities administration director, and he’s
going to help shepherd through the process
at the state level and through these RFP processes,
all these various projects that we have in the pipeline. The challenge we
face is making sure we don’t displace
populations of students in dormitories, in residence
halls, as we build new ones, and as we tear down old ones. But the one that
you’ll see probably start immediately
after the new year is the demolition of Martin
Hall and the replacement on the same site of a
brand new residence hall, right there on the
same footprint. We’re also looking
for a food vendor, whether it’s Aramark
or somebody else, we’ll put it out to bid to
either renovate Weaver and turn that into our dining facility,
or possibly build a new dining facility, not dissimilar to what
they’ve done at other places. If you’ve been up
at UK recently, I think they built
a $45 million. Is that how much it is
Paul– dining facility at UK. Also, we’re looking
at the possibility of partnering with
a private company, for a wellness center and
indoor practice facility. This is different
from the rec center. There are other
enhancement projects that you can see on the
right side, the Carloftis Garden, which we hope
will begin here shortly. The student wellness center,
as in a health clinic. You’ve seen, I
hope, the new plaza out in front of the crab
library in the Weaver building, and part of that also is the
Noel Reading Porch, which I’ll show you in just one second. We were not approved
the last session to do a multi-level
parking garage with bonding authorities, so we hope that
during this next session, that may be something
we make a request. Representative Smart, if
you could help us with that, we would be most grateful. This is what you’re going to see
here in the next little while. The new entrants point at the
intersection of Barnes Mill Road and Lancaster Avenue. Steven, his firm,
did the design. That’s Indiana limestone
with some brick papers that lead you into
the center of campus. This was being paid for with
some institutional funds, but also a donor, and we’ll
reveal that donor here shortly, because it’ll be named
for him, and his wife, and his parents, both of
whom were EKU graduates. So there’s a really
great tie to campus, and we believe this is going to
be a great focal point as one comes into campus. Now, these are
renderings, nothing firm. But one thing we
would like to improve is that first point
of access the person has when they come to campus
as a prospective student. So Steve’s firm has
done an initial design of what will go where the
old tennis courts went, or where they used
to be, excuse me. So this would be what
we call a EKU alumni and welcome center with
some parking underneath. So you solve a
couple of problems. One is the parking problem. But number two, you
elevate your building so you could actually
see it from Lancaster above that wall, that is
currently along the avenue. We envision this as the place
where Johnny or Sally comes with mom and dad. They park their car. They go inside for
their orientation. They maybe sit in
a small auditorium. They learn about the history
of Eastern Kentucky University. On the backside will be
the new residence hall that they can tour on the space
of where Martin currently is. They then go into that
center for student life. You have your dining hall. You have your library. You have your renovated
student union right there, and that is the first
impression people see. It’s easy to find. It’s accessible,
and it’s welcoming. It would also be an alumni
facility for our graduates. So that is the initial design. Steven, anything you
want to say about that? This is all privately funded. We’re not going to ask the state
for anything to help with this. This will be done through
private donations. What have we done in
the past 18 months? I want to show you
just a couple things. They’re cosmetic,
yes, to be sure, but I hope they
made a difference, and I hope you’ve
noticed a difference. One is the rebrand of Arlington. Arlington is a university asset. It is a wonderful thing
for our community, but it is owned
by the university, and we are incredibly
proud of it. It’s great to go out
there and enjoy time with family and friends, and
to show prospective faculty and donors this
wonderful facility. We’ve invested in the house. You’ll continue to see
improvements out there. But the rebrand was
very intentional. University Club
says who owns it. We’re responsible
for it, and we’re going to do a better
job of maintaining it. That said, I think
Jim and his crew out there is the best around. The way they keep the course,
and Tod’s doing a great job, and we’re really
proud of Arlington. What have we done at a
place like alumni coliseum? A green old building, the
largest woodspan ceiling in the world. But it was looking
a little tired. This is what the floor used
to look like on the left, and when we decided we wanted
to put a new floor down, then we found out that the
asbestos was in the old floor, we thought, well,
let’s just build a new floor on top of
the old floor, which is exactly what we did. But you can see the
difference in the lighting, in the floor design. As we can afford it, we
intend to do a ribbon border around the top of the arena. But it’s lighter. It’s more inviting, and
it looks great on TV. The colonel had us
facing the right way, so we’re very happy about that. This is a game that was on
national TV against Belmont on ESPN, back in February. The science building–
phase two is currently under construction. When this is completed,
John and his factually are going to have 340,000
square feet of space. There is nothing like
it anywhere in Kentucky. Eric, I don’t know. Is there anything in the region
that even compares to this? $128 million. So the next time you see Jared,
or Rita Smart, or other state legislators, I hope
that you’ll thank them. The commonwealth
completely– they wholly supported this project. It’s going to change forever
our science programs, to hive everybody
under one roof, and get Mal Frisbee out of
the Moore Memorial Science Building. I don’t know. Mal may chain himself to the
door and not want to leave. We are really excited about
what this building means to us to our campus. Our new hall, we’re still
looking for a name for it. But not only the newest
the first edition to our bed inventory
in 40 years, but also, LEED gold certified,
and the first of its kind in the state
for a residence hall. Something as simple
as signage, I think, has made a big difference. I want to thank the mayor
and the city commission for helping out, as well. Along Lancaster, you’ve
probably seen the new signs that are all maroon. We’re still waiting for
the ones on Main Street. They’re out. Well, they’re blue. That’s the problem. [LAUGHS] Seriously, I want to think the
city for helping with that. Also, we’ve partnered
on the water tank brandy project, which I think has been
helpful and a nice addition to our community. There are four of them. They’ve all been repainted
and all rebranded. New tennis courts. We took out the
courts along Lancaster and built them up there next
to the Adams Tennis Center. My neighbor,
Freddie [INAUDIBLE], says it’s a great surface. I have yet to play on them,
but a great investment in our athletic facilities. Let me touch on
just a few projects within again, the larger scope
of the renovation, the Powell Building. Our intention is to take the
food preparation and service elements out of Powell and put
them into a new dining facility and make this completely
student centric. So gut it, stem the stern,
and let students tell us what spaces they want. Do they want a small
dollar theater? Do they want places for clubs? We’ve actually proposed the idea
of a faculty student lounge, where faculty and
students can grab a cup of coffee, or a bagel,
and discuss issues, class assignments, whenever. We have a chance, really in
the middle of our campus, to renovate a facility that
is so integral to everything that we’re doing
at the University. Laurie, anything you
want to say about that? Right behind, of course,
the Powell building is the new plaza. The reading porch will be done
here in the next few weeks. Ed, when is that
going to be done? Ed? OK. All right, just checking. We’re almost done Ed. Middle of July. And completely
funded by a donor, the Noels out of northern
Kentucky, who of course, funded the Noel Studio. I think we’ve put some
institutional resources into it, as well. But the idea was
to create a space on the exterior of the
building where access could be controlled, but students
could go outside, and read, and hang out, and study. It’s going to be great space. And you face what
I believe is one of the most beautiful
buildings we have on campus, the Weaver building. It’s wonderful facade. That’s what it’s going
to look like at night. Right there on the
corner, we took out some of those ball
fields, and we’re in the process of
working with a model to relocate some of those. But what we’ll build on the
corner there, of course, once we get the
funding from the state, is a new model lab school. Talking to the
architects today, they said, what about a lab school? What are your plans? We said, our plans
are to continue to support the only remaining
model lab school in Kentucky, and one of the few
in the country. I hope you all saw the rankings. We have the third best
high school in Kentucky according to this ranking that
came out just 10 days ago. The lab school,
we’ll go right there on the corner, which will then
free up all the space behind it for future academic expansion,
either for our college of education or other facilities
that we need at the University. So we won’t have to
disrupt at all the school year of model lab. You build a new
school on the corner there while the old school
is still in session. You occupy this. You then raise the
school behind it. That’s what it is
proposed to look like. We also put lights on both
the baseball and the softball fields. First time they’ve ever had
the chance to play at night. Let me conclude by
talking just a little bit about our proposed athletic and
activity facility improvements. The first is Earle
Combs Stadium. Some have said,
well, you’re going to keep Turkey Hughes’
name on the field? Absolutely. But when we build
this new facility, it’s going to be named for one
of the most famous Richmonites ever, Earl Combs, who batted
lead off the New York Yankees and is in the Hall of Fame,
and was the chair of our board. That is the proposed stadium. You can see about 1,000 seats,
but much more comfortable than we have now, and much
more handsome than one sees currently off the bypass. Another facility that we propose
as we raise the money to do it is a new software facility. So over there by the facilities
maintenance buildings, the new softball complex would
be shoehorned right in there. Roy Kidd Stadium,
when it was built, I think prior to the science
building, if I’m not mistaken, was the biggest
building on campus. It’s nine stories high. You may not know this, but it
was designed and constructed by the same firm as did Western
Kentucky University Stadium. Same year. Now, they spent quite a bit
of money in renovating theirs. Theirs is a little
different in that it’s on a little bit of an angle. They built a new grandstand
on the other side. But we believe we can
do something similar. Not to what they’ve
done at Notre Dame, because they also
have $450 million. But the concept of what they’ve
done at Notre Dame, to us, is inspiring. How many of you have been at
Notre Dame stadium, anybody? Probably arguably one of
the most iconic football stadiums in the country. The President there,
Father Jenkins said, why do we only use
this six days a year? Why don’t we build
around it elements that our students will use
every single day, every hour? So they are spending
a buttload of money to build around the
football stadium. On the east side
is going to be all the athletic complex, training
facility, tutoring labs, athletic administration offices. On the south end, facing the
Hesburgh Library and Touchdown Jesus is going to be
the School of Music, their conservatory of music. So imagine sitting in a practice
room, practicing your scales while you’re looking
up at Touchdown Jesus there in the distance. On the west side is going to be
their student union and the rec center. They’re now saying,
this is going to be the crossroads
of our campus. We thought, why not do something
on a much smaller scale at EKU that would be used by the
community every single day and by our students
every single day? What we came up with was on the
east side, a grandstand that would house new locker rooms,
new offices for a football staff. This is what the architects
are proposing right now, the cantilevered roof there. The things you see on the
right there, the maroon shade, those are all seats that
would be in a horseshoe shape. You’ll see what I’m talking
about here in a second. But when we tore out the old
grandstand on the east side, this is what’s
going to replace it. The funding is in place. The design continues. Our hope and our expectation
is to have this done in time for the 2016 season. Isn’t that correct Paul? OK. Steve, are we on board? All right. What we’re proposing
in the space of Begley is the new rec center
that our students approved of 140,000 square feet. Whatever we do to
build a stadium will have to be done privately. We’ll have to go
out, raise the money to do the suites and the stands
and what other accoutrements we want to do with the stadium. But the ideas is to create a
space that our students will use all the time that our
community could have access to do with, as you can
see on the east side, the football building that
then closes off in a horseshoe, if you will, along the bypass. These are again,
all initial designs, all initial renderings. There’s a lot of work to do. We want a lot of student input. We met with the students and
talked to them about this idea. They were very excited
and very supportive. But this is where we would
have graduation, as opposed to what we currently have
in Begley at Roy Kidd. So there is the
interior of what is proposed for the new facility. I think it would be a
very handsome addition to our campus, and very
useful, and very welcome. With that, I have come to
the conclusion of my remarks, and I’m happy to field any
questions you might have. I’ll turn it over to David. Thank you very much. [APPLAUSE] I think we’ve got
some bold vision. I think for those of us, as a
proud alum of this institution, I’m excited to see
where EKU is going. I know many in this group
share that same passion, that same desire. And Dr. Benson, we
appreciate the vision that you share for
Eastern and how that’s going to
hopefully enable, and empower, and make Richmond
and Madison County a better place for everyone who’s here. So we very much appreciate that. With that in mind, let
me take just a moment. This is a wonderful
facility that we’re in, and I want to thank the center
staff and those folks for all their help for setting this up. It’s a wonderful space and a
great asset for our community. So let’s give them a round of
applause, if you don’t mind. [APPLAUSE] Let’s open it up
to some questions. Do we do have some
questions from the audience? We can circulate a mic
around, if need be. I may have Matt grab his
wireless mic there, if need be. Yes sir, Mr. House? I have a question. You said about Weaver
[INAUDIBLE], [INAUDIBLE]. Could you elaborate on that? Well, we’ve yet to craft
the RFP for our food vendor. Right now, Aramark’s
still our provider, and we’ll continue
that relationship. But we’ve had
discussions with them as to their
inclination to invest in our campus in exchange
for a longer contract as they’ve looked
around campus, either on the footprint of McGregor,
or taking Weaver and gutting it, and turning that into
a dining facility. That’s one of the options. I think the Mayor
had a question. Mayor? Is this on? You’re live. It scared me. It’s more of a comment
than a question. When I first got in office
when President Benson came in at the University, I
truly believe in life, there’s a window of
opportunity that we get. If we don’t take
advantage of it, we never get that window open. I think it bodes on not
only the University, but the city of
Richmond, and the county, and everybody to get on board. I challenge the
commissioners that we all sit down together and
piggyback on the university, because I’ve said this
time and time again. As the university
grows, so do we. That’s our window
of opportunity. When you travel
around the state, I hear people talk about going
to Owensboro for an example. Now, Owensboro has something
that we don’t have. We have something
they don’t have. We’ve got a major university,
and they’ve got a river. But they’re compatible
to each other. There’s got to be things in the
community that make it grow. If it wasn’t a university,
maybe it would be a river. Maybe an airport,
things of that nature that allows communities like
Richmond to take advantage of. I want to commend you
of what you’re doing and the vision is awesome. Thank you. Thank you very much. No other questions? This is usually a
very talkative group. Yes sir, here in the back? Dr. Jones? Can you speak to, you
mentioned the [INAUDIBLE] to the interior of campus. I want to hear a
little more about that. I’d also like to hear
maybe about the direction of the conversation about
[INAUDIBLE] of campus so that there’s more [INAUDIBLE]
flow of pedestrian and bicycle transportation to
and from campus, so linking the campus
and the community, as opposed to having
the [INAUDIBLE] campus inside a surrounding community. I’ll start, and then I want
to turn it over to Barry to talk about what’s going on? David, you could maybe
talk about what’s going to happen
along Lancaster too, the project, the walkway there. Alex, as you know, we’ve
tried for a long time to see how we could
push vehicular traffic to the perimeter. As our architects and
our team met today, this is one of our
first areas of focus, is how to make particularly
that center of campus more navigable and more
pedestrian friendly. It’s going to take
working with the city, with the cemetery board about
what possible routes are on the exterior
perimeter of campus that we might be able to
utilize to make it harder to get a car in the middle of
campus and easier for you on foot or on a bike. Now, Laurie, are we still
pursuing the bike idea like they have in New York
where you can just hop on a bike and leave it at your– you
want to talk about that? Yes. Our campus rec
department is currently in the process of investigating
a system whereby bikes would be available similar to
in New York City, where you can pick it
up in one location and drop them off in another. Barry, do you want to talk about
other things that we’re doing? Sure. Houser, you’re right. When we looked at– we
had our launch meeting yesterday and today with HEWV. One of the slides
that they shared in their initial overview was
a snapshot of all the parking areas on our campus. How much it really struck me
is how much space that takes up in the core of campus. So if you think
about ways that you might mitigate some of that,
or remove some of that, or do parking structures
here, and there, and whatnot, and free up that space, and make
it more pedestrian friendly, what that means for
adding more green spaces, adding more focal
points for students to gather or to have these
unintentional or intentional bumps with the
faculty and staff. It really opens up
your mind to think about what might be possible
when you really think seriously about moving cars how
the core of campus. The other part that’s going
to be a challenge for us, as a university, is
the cultural change that’s going to be required
to separate ourselves from our vehicles. That’s really going
to be a challenge. We all are facing that head on. One of the other things
you mentioned too that we touched on with
our group as we met was the blending of the borders
with the city and the college. We want to get to a point where
you don’t really realize it when you navigate from
downtown into campus or however you enter the campus. We want you to know
when you’re on campus, because their gateways are
going to help do some of that. But we also want to make it
more blended, if you will. Even if there are places
downtown where students can gather, and
congregate, and maybe even have the Wi-Fi that that
doesn’t end at campus, but you can navigate
downtown to the coffee shop and have the same Wi-Fi,
just as an example, and extend study spaces
downtown, if you will. Just some neat
things to think about as we delve into this
planning process. Two other initiatives
on that front. We’ve been fortunate to
receive a TAP grant to extend the sidewalk down
Lancaster Avenue to the entry point toward the
Stratton building in Perkins. So there’ll now be a
sidewalk extended all the way down there, and that’ll
be lit appropriately. Then we’re going to try
to reinstitute the Colonel Walk, which would start
at the Daniel Boone statue and go all the way to the
courthouse, up 2nd Street, and really invite our faculty,
our staff, and our students to come downtown– to patronize
those businesses downtown, to engage in those activities
downtown, to go study, so to go to Purdy’s and have
a cup of coffee, and a bagel, and still be able to feel
like they’re on campus. So we’re looking forward to
those opportunities, and maybe even the opportunity to
embed some of our facilities and some of our units in the
downtown footprint, as well. So we’re very excited
about those opportunities going forward. Magister Tutor? Have you looked
in the possibility of building a high rise
garage, parking facility, make more space for the
buildings where your parking lots are? Western has, I think, two
high rise parking facilities down there. Barry, would you want to– Yeah. We have that on our plan. We do a six year
plan with the state, and we’ve got those projects
on our request list, as well. So the difference thing that
we have to be good about is where we locate
those and make sure they’re in the right
spots for the residence halls, for the staff, and
faculty, and whatnot. If I might John, one spot that
we’ve identified, which I think would be perfect, and
we’ll defer to our experts to corroborate that. But right as you look at
the AC, those ugly two abandoned tennis
courts right there that have a fence around
them, and we’re proposing maybe a
multi-level lot faced with brick with the
pitch roof on it, so your car would
be protected, that’s in an L shape that then goes in
the outfield of the baseball. So you’re servicing
your athletic complexes, your housing, alumni
coliseum, because as you know, at graduation, that’s one of
our biggest limiting factors is getting people in and
out of the parking lots to accommodate for big events. We have various spots on campus,
but that one would be, I think, equidistant to a lot
of different things that serve a lot of
different populations. OK. Yes ma’am? [INAUDIBLE] parking,
and communication, and moving our
[INAUDIBLE] and district. We got [INAUDIBLE], and
there are no sidewalks. We participate in so
many things on campus, and we love to exercise. We love [INAUDIBLE]. We would like walk. But there’s no facilities,
no [INAUDIBLE] walking [INAUDIBLE] that’s [INAUDIBLE]. I know that there are
faculty [INAUDIBLE]. There’s many students that I see
[INAUDIBLE] walking [INAUDIBLE] or to the campus. They’re walking
through the streets. So when you’re within
two blocks of campus and you want to bring
community and campus together, really look at our
facilities that we have now, and then you can
[INAUDIBLE] together [INAUDIBLE] safety, [INAUDIBLE]
traffic, and bring them to the [INAUDIBLE]. I think you make a great point. I think for the commissioners
and for the mayor, I think there’s a lot
of opportunity for us to partner together to look at
opportunities to do just that, to make those connections, and
to look at possible funding opportunities,
grant opportunities. I think that we’re excited to
start down that road together. I think that a forum like
this is really a chance for us to hear those
things and encourage us to engage in
those conversations about moving forward together. I think that Mayor, or
any of the commissioners, would you like to make
any comments on that? The commission and
I, we have discussed sidewalks in the city. Sidewalks are like a
lot of our buildings. They’re just old, and for
us to, for an example, I think she was
talking on Barnes Mill. For us to get easements,
it’s a slow process. But we are looking at putting
new sidewalks in the entrance of town coming to Main Street. We’re also looking at putting
sidewalks on the north side of Barnes Mill. But it’s people’s property. We have to get easements. Truthfully, we haven’t
gone to that process of asking for easements
there, because we’re actually starting on the other side. One of the comments that you
made to David that I think is important,
especially for the city, it would be to me, and part
of your comprehensive plan. And if we want to
have a blend, we need to understand
what we’re blending, because we have different
challenges, whether it be zoning easements. Is it a state road? Is it a county road? Is it is a city road? Those are things
that we need to have, and if you’re looking at
your comprehensive plan, and we were blending,
say, and we’ve got plans ourself to go
to 2nd and 3rd Street and blend that area, but
most of that area for us is either retail
or single family dwellings, where you all are
looking at it as multifamily. So I think it’s important for us
to be very aware of your plans, especially in the areas
that we want it to blend. The sidewalks are a great idea. I think the more people we
have walking, and riding bikes, and exercise, the less
traffic congestion we get. But we are looking at
a lot of those things. A lot of them will
dictate, especially in the blending areas,
as to what we do with it. Well, we’re looking forward,
our master planning group, just sitting down with a working
group, with the commission for sure, having some
community forums, and really trying to open that
up, and integrate those things. We wanted to share
this vision tonight to have an opportunity to let
everyone see where we’re going. I think we’ve got to find
those points of entry where we can work together today
to share in the opportunities to build those things. So I think you’re exactly right. We’re looking forward to that,
engaging those conversations that fall with the group that we
have, and they’re outstanding. We’re really excited to
have them working with us. Commissioner Morgan? I appreciate your vision. It’s bold. It’s exciting, and I love it,
especially coming from– I’ve been an Eastern grad. Two questions. What do you need specifically
from the city of Richmond to make your vision happen? I suspect that we’re
in support of it. Tell us what you need. Be very blunt,
very frank with us. How can we help you
make this happen? Question two. You talked about public
and private partnerships. Are you willing to take
those partnerships off campus more to the downtown
area as you discuss the Wi-Fi, and the parties. Are you willing to take them to
help her out on the sidewalks down Barnes Mill? I’ll answer the
[INAUDIBLE], if that’s OK. The second question first, I’ll
defer to our legal counsel. No. [LAUGHS] I think all options
are out there. If there’s an opportunity
for us to partner with local businesses,
with local organizations, in a way that benefits all of
us, everything is free game. I hope if there’s anything
that denotes this era at EKU is that we’re looking
for all the chances to push the university forward
and our community forward. So if that comes in the
form of the partnership that you describe,
we’re all for them, and we’ll be happy
to discuss them. What we could use
from you, first, I should have said
this at the outset. Well, I wanted to show
you some of the images and some of the ideas. This is all still very fluid. They had the construction term,
as you know, design build. In a lot of ways, this
is what we’re doing. We want input from
our students as to what they want in
the facilities, input from our city partners
as to how to make that interface with downtown
as seamless as possible, how we could improve the
infrastructure that leads you to campus, how you
can partner with us to maybe look at some
of the traffic patterns, and how we might look at
different orientations. I don’t know if you saw. This is a suggestion
for Mr. [INAUDIBLE]. We’ll see what he
says, but you all know that intersection that’s
very problematic right there next to [INAUDIBLE]
right now in track is that stop light right
there that’s always a mess. Well, right next to it is
the old abandoned observatory that was donated to EKU by
the University of Kentucky. Anybody know what’s in there? Storage. We have storage in
there right now. The idea was to
take off the lid, take off the top, which
is a beautiful copper top, and maybe make it a design
element of the garden, a cupola of some sort, like a little
place where one gathers, and create either a roundabout
or a better traffic area that could then lead to a perimeter
road on the outside of campus and make the hill and down into
the middle of campus pedestrian only. I was at the University of
Oregon just a couple weeks ago to see a couple of our
kids run and had a chance to go visit that campus. I love to do that, because you
get to steal some good ideas, we hope. But they have along the
perimeter of their campus, several one way streets
and one that literally bisected the middle of campus. They approached
the city and said, we want to take that out
and make it accessible only to emergency vehicles. Now, it’s the place where
everybody goes to congregate. They have the stanchions that
keep out vehicles and allow for fire trucks or
emergency vehicles, but it’s become much
more pedestrian friendly. So what we could use
from you, commissioner, is the chance to sit
down with our architects and talk about ways that
the campus and the city interface with each other. If there are projects we could
work together in and fund together, we would
welcome that, as well. Thank you. Thank you. Yes sir? Not that long ago,
there was talk about building a hotel and
conference center in proximity to this building
and [INAUDIBLE]. I didn’t see any mention
of that in this plan. What’s the status of that? When you say, hotel,
you’ve got [INAUDIBLE] downtown [INAUDIBLE]
read about the story, you read about what
it is that [INAUDIBLE] for a university [INAUDIBLE]
partnership [INAUDIBLE]. Again, second question first. I had a chance along,
with the Mayor, and I think a member
of the city commission to talk about a potential
buyer of the Glyndon. He came up on campus. We had a really nice visit. I don’t know what’s
come of that, but we’ll continue to partner
with any potential buyers for that property. There are plans on
the books for a hotel, that a private developer would
come in and build on our land. We haven’t pursued
it at all, because I think with the center– and
there’s some out there that know more than I. When the center was built,
I know that was part of it. The challenge we face, and
Dan McBride can back me up. If an opposing football team
comes to town to play us, guess where they stay? Lexington, exit
104, where there’s a hotel and a conference center. They could accommodate a team,
and they can do a walk through. We don’t have anything
like that in town. I’m delighted to see the Marriot
TownePlace Suites going in and any other development,
but if we could have something on campus adjacent to
this facility, where artists would
actually stay there instead of going elsewhere. Jill, you know what
I’m talking about. Skip, you know what
I’m talking about. So while I didn’t talk about it,
we were approached six months ago or so by a firm that
has keen interest in it, and we’ll continue
those conversations. Yes? I was wondering what the total
stadium capacity [INAUDIBLE] stadium [INAUDIBLE]? What is it Matt? About 20,000 [INAUDIBLE]. Not much bigger. Our goal is to create a
game day environment that’s more enjoyable, make
it more intimate; less vertical, more horizontal;
get people packed in there, and improve that experience. Yes, commissioner? Will it still be the
Roy Kidd Stadium? I had dinner with
the coach last night, and there’s no way I
could ever go to Roy Kidd and tell him that we’re
billing a new stadium and it doesn’t bear his name. I’ll tell you that. That’s a good thing. Roy Kidd built our
football program. We had a great program
before, but Roy Kidd is Eastern Kentucky
University football, and I’m so proud of him,
and Sue, and we all are. So yes, I anticipate it will
be named the Roy Kidd Stadium. Thank you. [LAUGHS] And still Roy and Sue
Kidd Drive, by the way. OK, good. That doesn’t mean a stadium
presented by King’s Chicken. We could do a number of things. That’s OK. As you know, they have
very resourceful ways for naming opportunities,
but Roy Kidd, he’s an institutional
treasure really. Anybody else? I mentioned the
process, and I hope that you will take to heart our
encouraging your participation. Our architects will be here
as we have design meetings about other facilities. We hope you’ll come
participate, but I’ll end where we started, that
this is a really unique moment in our history. Like the Mayor said,
this is a window, and if we don’t take
advantage of it– I’ll end with a
Harry Truman story. You can’t finish without
a Harry Truman story. Harry Truman’s
Secretary of State, who won a Pulitzer Prize for
his memoir, was Dean Acheson. You could not have found
two more polar opposite people than Harry
Truman and Dean Acheson. Dean Acheson had gone the
Groton, and Harvard, and Yale, and Harry Truman was the only
president in the last century who didn’t graduate college. Atchison dedicated his
memoir to Harry Truman. If you open up the first page
it says, to Harry Truman, the captain with
the mighty heart. He had enormous respect
for President Truman. He once said that the greatest
attribute of Harry Truman was he was devoid of
the most enfeebling of human emotions, regret. Think about that. Regret does you no good. There’s nothing you
can do about yesterday. All you can do is act on
today and plan for the future. So Mr. Mayor, commissioners,
our other elected officials, we are not going to regret
wasting this opportunity. This is going to be our
moment, and I need your help. We need your help. But it’s an exciting
time to be at EKU. Thank you so much for being
here, and go Colonels. [APPLAUSE] [INAUDIBLE] We want to extend
a warm welcome, our greater appreciation to our
elected officials for coming. We’d ask you to stick around. We’ve got a little bit
of fruit, a few deserts. Our president’s
counsel hopefully can hang around
for a few minutes. These folks are subject matter
experts on any number of things that you might have
a question about. So we’ll try to hang
around for a few minutes if you’ve got some questions. We do appreciate
everyone’s time, and we look forward to
having the partnerships and discussions going
forward as to how we make the impossible possible. So thank you all very much. [APPLAUSE] Good job. Did we do OK?

Danny Hutson

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