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BOONE — The Appalachian State University Board of Trustees approved various items and heard updates from Chancellor Sheri Everts at its Dec. 3 in person meeting.

After approving absences and the meeting minutes from the Sept. 24 meeting, the board heard remarks from Everts. She provided the trustees with updates on how the semester had gone and various events that had occurred.

“We honored our veterans with a week of special events, and live music concerts have included not only the very high-profile Entertainer of the Year Luke Combs concert in September, but also many events by our Hayes School of Music students and faculty, including concerts celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month and the annual Holiday Scholarship Concert,” Everts told the board. “Basketball season is underway, and fans are energized by a terrific season last year, a strong start to the season this year and opportunities to watch the games in person.”

Everts told the board the university is still vigilant with COVID-19 safety precautions, watchful of the data, attentive to the science, and alert to information about new variants, but more of the emergency operations is dedicated to recover than pandemic response.

“By this time last year, I had a well-established team that I called my ‘COVID Council.’ This is not one of those leadership opportunities people apply to become part of for professional development or career progression,” Everts said. “We met every day, seven days a week — sometimes multiple times each day — to manage each new crisis, respond to each new decision made at national, state or local levels, and to review new data. Through every evening, every weekend, every holiday, we remained in constant contact. Our families became used to us leaving the dinner table, stepping away from birthday celebrations, and being on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.”

Everts noted that Marshburn in particular was delivering meals and medicine to students on Christmas and Thanksgiving. Recently, Everts said the meetings have been moved to one day a week.

Everts’ full remarks can be found at tinyurl.com/3258zruv.

The majority of action items came from the business affairs committee during the meeting. The business affairs committee brought forward tuition and fee pricing increases for fiscal year 2023. The proposed increase of 2 percent — or $397 — is for non-resident undergraduate tuition. The additional revenue of $537,000 would establish three new faculty positions, one new academic advising position and two academic support positions, according to the committee.

App State dining is moving to an “all you can eat” meal plan for $5,360 which will cover 100 percent of meals. According to the committee, 67.5 percent of students prefer that plan. Housing rates will increase by 3 percent for existing dorms and the standard room rate is increasing by more than 3 percent due to old dorms — Bowie and Eggers — coming offline. The motion to approved those increases passed.

The board next approved a lease for a Wells Fargo ATM on the millennial campus to start Jan. 1 through Dec. 31. The rental amount is 1,200 per month and the university will lease a 6’ by 9’ area to Wells Fargo. The motion was approved.

Next, the board approved capital projects. The first was a bookstore remodeling, which has a final total project cost of $5,000,000. The project goal is to increase sales revenue by “creating a venue that has comprehensive approach to merchandizing and product offerings,” according to meeting documents. Construction is estimated to start in January 2023 with completion by summer 2023.

The second capital project item was authorization to increase the third floor buildout cost of the new end zone facility from $499,764 to $650,000. The increase is due to escalation of material prices as well as additional scope of work, which was requested by the tenant to include more countertops, additional medical equipment and lobby finishes. The majority of the work is complete. BreakThrough Physical Therapy will operate in the space.

The third capital project request was authorization to increase the New River Light and Power Laydown Yard from $490,000 to $550,000. The increase is due to material price increases, unforeseen subgrade conditions and a town of Boone zoning ordinance. According to meeting documents, a disagreement with the town of Boone over interpretation of a construction ordinance required the university to redesign a retaining wall, which increased quantity of steel, concrete and form work.

The final capital project was the authorization of a NRLP parking lot at a cost of $650,000, which would be utility supported project with debt paid by a NRLP bond initiative. The project intends to refurbish several NRLP parking and work areas with either asphalt or concrete as appropriate.

The board approved all four projects.

The Business Affairs committee also heard an update on current capital improvement projects including the expansion of the child development center set to finish in spring 2022; the innovation campus set to start in early 2023 with a master plan set to be presented to university leadership with the next 60 days; and updates on current construction at New River Hall and the track at the old high school property, which is set to complete in May 2022.

After Everts finished her remarks, the board heard from the Academic Affairs Committee. The board approved a La-Z-Boy Distinguished Endowed Professorship within the College of Fine and Applied Arts. The purpose of the fellowship is to increase faculty diversity and thereby encourage increased success among traditionally underrepresented student populations with the university’s department of Applied Design, according to meeting documents.

The board next heard from the athletic committee. The committee heard an update on the outdoor track and field complex on N.C. 105, which was continuing to progress well. The committee did not have any action go before the board in the first open portion of the meeting.

The board next heard from the audit committee, which did not have any action come before the board. Audit Committee Chair John Blackburn said he has served on lots of audit committees and said App State is the “gold standard for auditing.”

The board then heard an informational report from the student affairs committee.

The board then went into closed session. When they reconvened in open session, they approved a contract extension for App State softball head coach Shelly Hoerner through 2025.

The App State Board of Trustees is set to next meet on March 25.

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