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home : most recent : arts November 24, 2017

10/20/2017 7:31:00 PM
Indiana State University trustees OK $31.8 million in projects

Sue Loughlin, Tribune-Star

The Indiana State University Board of Trustees voted Thursday to move forward with two construction projects costing up to $31.8 million, and it also approved a 2.8 percent increase in health insurance premiums.

Trustees met Thursday in the State Room of Tirey Hall.

One of the construction projects involves a $15 million Phase 1 renovation of the Fine Arts building, an academic facility dedicated in 1940. The Legislature approved a cash appropriation for the project, which must still be approved by the Commission for Higher Education and State Budget Committee.

The project would replace plumbing, mechanical and electrical systems that have become obsolete. Interior spaces, including classrooms and labs, would be reconfigured.

Once final state approvals are in place, construction is expected to start in mid-May, after the spring semester is complete and faculty and staff can be relocated to the nursing building. The faculty and staff previously housed in the nursing building will move this winter into the new Health and Human Services facility.

Arc Design will provide architectural and engineering services.

The board also gave the green light to move forward with the renovation and potential expansion of the Sycamore Towers dining facility, with the project cost not to exceed $16.8 million.

It serves the four-tower residence hall complex that has been undergoing a phased renovation for the past several years.

“This is the final project in the Sycamore Towers Complex renovation,” said Diann McKee, senior vice president for finance.

About 35,000 square feet will be renovated, and ISU also hopes to add 5,000 square feet to the west to make room for more students and more meals served as the result of ISU’s growing enrollment. “It is bursting at the seams,” McKee said. It serves other residence halls as well and is one of two dining complexes on campus.

Funding for the project will consist of a $5 million cash contribution from Sodexo, with the remainder being funded through cash reserves and borrowing. The university will use Ratio Architects, and the project still requires various state approvals.

The project will be done in phases during the summer because the dining facility is needed during the academic year, McKee said. The goal is to begin next summer.

In other business:

The board approved a 2.8 percent rate increase in the university’s health plan coverage, effective Jan. 1.

The only major change is the addition of a high-deductible option next year, in addition to the current preferred provider plan. ISU has received requests for the high-deductible plan, particularly from new employees who may have participated in one with a previous employer.

Jeff Taylor, who chairs the trustee finance committee,noted the relatively low increase. “For any of you who are buying health insurance anywhere else, you will know that a 2.8 percent annual increase is a remarkably good result,” he said.

The high-deductible plan has a $2,000 individual deductible and a $6,000 family deductible for in-network services, with the employee paying 20 percent on most services after the deductible is met. The plan would continue to cover 100 percent for preventive and well-baby care services.

Each employee who participates in the high-deductible plan must open a Health Savings Account, which the university will annually contribute $500 for the employee- only plan and $1,000 for a family plan.

Related Stories:
• Indiana OKs Hulman Center renovation for Terre Haute

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Editor, John C. DePrez Jr.; Executive Editor, Carol Rogers; Publishers: IBRC and IAR

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