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Justice Hall to be demolished in summer 2020

BOONE – The 67-year-old Justice Residence Hall will be torn down in the summer of 2020, according to a resolution passed by the Appalachian State Board of Trustees on July 25.

“The demolition of Justice Hall is necessary to complete the third phase of the university’s residence hall project currently under way, and which was previously approved by all applicable state authorities,” a July 25 statement from ASU said.

The news was conveyed at the meeting by Vice Chancellor for Business Affairs Paul Forte, who said the hall will be torn down and won’t be imploded like Winkler Residence Hall was in the summer of 2014.

“The state has already approved the overall project, which included the demolition of Justice, Bowie, Eggers and several other dorms, but because each time we take down each individual building, under UNC System policy as well as state law, we are required to follow this process,” General Counsel Paul Meggett said. “It is simply a time issue for when it gets done. This happens with every single building, whether we build one or take one down, we have to follow this process every single time.”

Forte said the timeline will be presented to the board at a later date, but noted the demolition will start after spring 2020 classes finish in early May.

Forte said ASU will seek to start the process of approving the disposal of the other six residence halls slated for disposition – Bowie, Coltrane, Eggers, Gardner, Winkler, Justice and East – as soon as summer 2020 with demolition slated for summer 2021.

The demolition of Justice Hall is a part of the $191 million public-private partnership (P3) between ASU, private developer RISE and nonprofit asset manager Beyond Owners Group to replace seven longtime residence halls with four new residence halls that will result in a total replacement of 2,100-2,200 beds with a few hundred of those accounting for a small net increase. All the residence halls but East are on the west side of campus.

The first two buildings part of the P3 project, currently known as 100 and 200, are currently under construction and scheduled to open in fall 2020. Building 100 is on the corner of Jack Branch Drive and Stadium Drive, directly across from Gardner Hall. Building 200 will be further along Jack Branch Drive, near Bowie and Eggers residence halls.

App State Police named NC Law Enforcement Agency of Year

The Appalachian State University Police Department was selected as the Law Enforcement Agency of the Year by the North Carolina Police Executives Association.

NCPEA officials announced the award at the organization’s 2019 Annual Training Conference in Wilmington July 15–17. APD is the inaugural recipient of the award. Andy Stephenson, Appalachian’s director of public safety and chief of police, said he was proud of his department for being the first to receive the award.

APD was selected as Agency of the Year primarily for its Appalachian Police Officer Development Program — the second of its kind in the nation and the only such program in North Carolina, according to the university.

Students who complete this two-year program become sworn police officers while simultaneously earning their bachelor’s or master’s degrees. The program is offered free for full-time Appalachian students, regardless of major. According to App State, students receive payment for their training hours and part-time work as police officers.

“This award reflects the Appalachian Police Department’s tremendous success in educating the next generation of law enforcement officers while fostering a safe campus with a culture of mutual respect and community engagement,” said Appalachian Chancellor Sheri Everts in a statement. “Our law enforcement leaders champion policing as a highly principled profession — one that requires critical thinking and innovative ideas.”

According to NCPEA — a statewide organization for police leadership — the award was established to honor one North Carolina police agency each year that has pioneered an innovative program, policy or concept that demonstrates the principles of community policing, problem-solving strategies and/or strengthens community trust.

Stephenson said the award was based from nominations. The university nominated APD earlier this year for the award, and the department was notified in May that it won the inaugural honor. The information was embargoed until July 16 when the department could make the announcement public.

“We were all excited and couldn’t tell anyone,” Stephenson said.

Tammy Pippen, executive director of NCPEA, said the organization was looking for agencies in North Carolina that are serving their communities in innovative and collaborative ways.

“We think Appalachian Police are creating a trend we hope that other agencies will try to follow,” Pippen said in a statement. “Students receive a (Basic Law Enforcement Training) certification in addition to a college degree — that’s huge. That is like a succession plan within itself, and exactly what the NCPEA is looking to recognize.”

Stephenson attributed the award recognition to the hard work of APD officers and the commitment to public safety made by Everts, Vice Chancellor Paul Forte and other Appalachian leadership.

“The ADPD was created to address Appalachian’s changing needs in policing while also helping to address the officer candidate shortages that have created statewide and nationwide recruiting challenges for many police departments,” Stephenson said, who initiated the program at Appalachian, in a statement.

Stephenson is a graduate of the Indiana University Police Academy — the first program of its kind in the U.S. He came to APD in June 2016. The department has a total of 60 to 70 sworn police officers on any given year, Stephenson said.

“The ADPD also provides participants with an unprecedented job market advantage,” Stephenson said in a statement. “Graduates of the APDP have a skill and education level that no other entry-level policing applicants in North Carolina will have at such an early phase in their careers. The program provides North Carolina communities with truly exceptional police officer candidates.”

Pippen recognized the collaborative work the APDP engages in with a range of law enforcement agencies across the state.

“This allows many agencies to also succeed with them and this is a success story within itself,” Pippen said.

Now in its second year, the program is on track to graduate its second class of recruits in early fall 2019. These graduates work part time to gain professional experience as police officers while they complete their degrees at Appalachian.

For more information about APDP, visit police.appstate.edu.

Kayla Lasure contributed reporting to this article.

ASU trustees approve alcohol sales permitting at all athletic facilities

BOONE – The Appalachian State Board of Trustees unanimously approved a motion allowing the athletics department to pursue beer and wine sales for all its stadiums, including Kidd Brewer Stadium and the Holmes Center, during a July 25 special meeting.

“I appreciate the due diligence on the part of our trustees and university staff to ensure we can meet the needs of our university, continue to positively contribute to the local economy and enhance the already outstanding Mountaineer fan experience,” Chancellor Sheri Everts said in a July 25 statement. “Throughout this review, we have prioritized the safety and security of our university community, and we will continue to do so as we work through the logistics related to implementing alcohol sales at our athletics venues.”

The trustees listened to a presentation by ASU Athletics Director Doug Gillin, who was speaking by teleconference as he was out of town. Gillin said he was tasked with researching the topic previously by Everts.

The motion included allowing permitting at Kidd Brewer Stadium, Varsity Gym, baseball’s Jim and Bettie Smith Stadium, softball’s Sywassink/Lloyd Family Stadium, future athletic facilities on the Appalachian 105 property, the Holmes Center, field hockey’s Adcock Stadium and the Appalachian Soccer Stadium at the Ted Mackorell Soccer Complex.

The motion also included Ted Mackorell Soccer Complex, although the board’s discussion acknowledged additional permissions would be necessary to serve alcohol at this venue, as its operation is a joint venture of the Appalachian State University Foundation, Watauga County and the High Country Soccer Association.

Gillin said the passage doesn’t mean ASU will seek to sell alcohol at all those facilities and it does not include hard liquor.

“We appreciate the trustees’ thoughtful consideration of our review of data and the experiences of peer institutions,” Gillin said in a statement. “Universities across the country have seen both a decrease in alcohol-related incidents and an enhanced fan experience when they provide a controlled environment for alcohol sales. Our game day staff will partner with Campus Dining, the App State police department, local law enforcement and other campus constituents to provide a safe and positive environment for everyone in attendance.”

Gillin said there have been four meetings with campus constituents where they looked at more than 50 peer institutions who already sell alcohol. Gillin previously cited studies showing a reduction in alcohol-related incidents when the university allows in-stadium alcohol sales. Gillin indicated that peer institutions which sell alcohol have cited a reduction in binge drinking attributed to greater control over alcohol availability and consumption in athletics venues.

When asked if ASU Athletics could get the permitting in place to sell alcohol by the first 2019 home football game on Aug. 31, Gillin said that is currently the plan.

The approval by the ASU Trustees became possible when Gov. Roy Cooper signed House Bill 389 into law on June 26, which will allow state universities to sell beer and wine at athletic venues on game day.

Previously, App State allowed the sale of alcohol in limited capacities at football, basketball and baseball games as part of club levels or beer gardens that were technically outside of the stadium.

Going forward, Gillin said there’s a meeting on July 30 with the N.C. Alcohol Beverage Control Commission where he said lot more details on alcohol permitting at sporting events will be hashed out.

Senior Associate Athletics Director Jonathan Reeder said that all other public Football Bowl Subdivision schools in North Carolina (North Carolina, N.C. State, East Carolina and Charlotte) have already allowed alcohol permitting for sporting events, many of which in recent weeks.

According to an ASU statement in June, Gillin presented information to the trustees’ Athletics Committee that cited studies showing a reduction in alcohol-related arrests. Additionally, he indicated that peer institutions have cited greater control over alcohol availability and consumption in athletics venues, noting a reduction in binge drinking by fans outside sporting venues that do not sell alcohol.