Board of Regents advance capital projects, endorse strategic plans

More than a dozen action items before the WSU Board of Regents — ranging from design and budget approvals for capital projects to President Kirk Schulz’s 2023–24 goals and objectives — were approved during its Friday meeting in Pullman.

Regents gave university leadership the go-ahead on several capital projects on the WSU Spokane and WSU Pullman campuses:

  • Renovation of the Knott Dairy Center on the WSU Pullman campus — including replacing animal housing facilities and critical infrastructure components — at a cost of up to $10 million being funded from state allocations.
  • Phase II of the Biomedical and Health Sciences Building project, which will enhance clinical education space on the WSU Spokane campus and give the colleges of medicine, pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences and nursing the chance to run real-life healthcare scenarios. The $7 million approved budget is funded from state allocations.
  • Up to $8 million in state funding to renovate lab facilities within Bustad Hall on the WSU Pullman campus. These renovations will enhance simulation-based educational programs facilitated by the College of Veterinary Medicine.
  • Construction of the new Taylor Sports Complex on the Pullman campus, replacing the aging indoor practice facility using more than $24 million in donated funds.
  • Increased project budget for Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture’s Schweitzer Engineering Hall, with the project’s total budget of $80 million coming in equal parts from state funding as well as donor funds.

Up to $53 million in systemwide minor capital projects funded by the state legislature also had contract budgets approved by regents during the meeting.

Aside from capital projects, regents endorsed the university’s streamlining of the public records request process, allocations of WSU Vancouver’s technology fees and a request that the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities consider the University of Nairobi as a WSU educational location. The latter request would allow WSU to begin to consider expanding educational offerings at the site.

Regents also approved an amended fiscal year 2024 athletics budget that includes $400,000 in additional revenue above earlier forecasts.

President Kirk Schulz’s academic year 2023–24 system objectives were unanimously endorsed by regents. In addition to system priorities, Schulz also noted his specific objectives for the current academic year:

  • Leverage the OneWSU system by establishing flexible and cost-effective solutions for the benefit of our students that more effectively utilize all our campus resources
  • Improve the recognition of WSU’s brand and enhance its reputation on a national level by implementing a sustainable marketing program
  • Raise $150 million in new philanthropic funds
  • Expand WSU’s presence in East Africa

Regents also reviewed and approved the WSU Pullman campus’ 2023–28 Strategic Plan. More information on that plan is available on the Pullman chancellor’s website.

WSU Board of Regents Chair Lisa Keohokalole Schauer provided attendees with an update on the board’s activity since June, which a meeting with the executive committee of the WSU Foundation Board of Director as well as welcoming new Student Regent Isaac Marroquin. Regents also attended the groundbreaking of the USDA-ARS Plant Sciences Building and the Taylor Sports Complex, as well as the rededication of the newly renovated medical building on the WSU Spokane campus.

As part of his report, President Schulz noted that WSU had set a fundraising record for the second straight year, with $167.9 million in philanthropic activity between July 1, 2022 and June 30, 2023. WSU Pullman Chancellor Elizabeth Chilton discussed priorities for the current academic year, including continued engagement with students, a greater focus on inclusion, diversity, equity and access effort as well as student success and efforts to create collaborative arts programming during her report.

The WSU Board of Regents meeting is available to watch in full on YouTube. The next scheduled meeting of the WSU Board of Regents will take place on the WSU Vancouver Nov. 16–17.

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