Ferris State University’s Board of Trustees approved a new five-year capital outlay plan, a final budget for the 2022 fiscal year, room and board rates, a new campus card and access system, and a major wireless infrastructure project along with other items at its regular meeting on Friday, Oct. 8 at the Woodbridge N. Ferris Building in Grand Rapids.
As Ferris officially broke ground Thursday, Sept. 2, on its current $32 million capital outlay project on the Big Rapids campus, the Center for Virtual Learning, plans were already in motion preparing for future opportunities backed by the state of Michigan. Looking ahead, with the state five-year capital outlay plan (2023-27), the trustees approved an Interdisciplinary Healthcare Education and Allied Health Renovation as its top priority for capital projects. University officials note the design of this proposal connects Ferris’ allied health disciplines – Allied Health, Optometry and Pharmacy with a continued focus on the university’s tradition and needs of interprofessional education made even more apparent during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The trustees approved a 2022-23 room and board rate of $9,862, for a freshman, with a double room and a basic meal plan. The rate, an increase of 1.3 percent, is expected to keep Ferris’ rates among the lowest compared to Michigan university peers for room and board. The board also approved a final fiscal-year 2022 general operating budget of $195.6 million, a reduction of $3.6 million from the previous year. Included in the budget is a 3.6-percent student scholarship increase to $27.6 million. Further approved by board members was a final $25 million fiscal-year 2022 housing and dining budget.
In other Oct. 8 action, the trustees approved:
- phase II of the wireless infrastructure replacement and enhancement plan. The university performed an extensive wireless technology study in 2017. As a result, Ferris adopted Aerohive Access Points, a product line owned and operated by Extreme Networks, as a standard. Ferris has already procured 1200 access points with Phase I. This has created a significant increase in network reliability in locations where the access points have been installed. These installations are expected to be completed by December 2021. The university is planning to procure an additional 1000 access points and replace approximately 150 aging network switches and routers;
- professional services for support of the Kendall College of Art and Design’s Wege Prize Awards event. Armstrong Marketing provide event planning, project management and administrative support services. KBOgroup will deliver technical planning, scheduling and overall audio and visual management and C.C. Sullivan will provide public relations, marketing and content services;
- four appointments to the boards of directors of FSU-authorized charter school academies, a professional services agreement with National Charter Schools Institute to provide detailed student performance data analysis for each FSU-authorized academy and the establishment of the Ferris State University/Hope of Detroit Academy STEM Learning Lab;
- acceptance of FY2021 audited financial statements as presented by Andrews Hoper Pavlick;
- a contract with Atrium Campus to begin implementation of the Campus Card and Access Control System on behalf of the University. The contract is to provide services for that system for a period of five (5) years, commencing July 2022 through June 2027; and
- closure of the Associate of Arts, Pre-Technical Communication degree program due to shifting student interest to other programs. Students currently enrolled in the program will receive assistance to complete the degree in a timely fashion.
The current trustees are chair Amna P. Seibold, of East Grand Rapids; vice-chair Ana L. Ramirez-Saenz, of Grand Rapids; secretary Rupesh K. Srivastava, of Wixom; member-at-large LaShanda R. Thomas, of Grosse Pointe; George K. Heartwell, of Newaygo; Kurt A. Hofman, of Grand Rapids; and Ronald E. Snead, of Stanwood.
The next regular meeting of the Board of Trustees is Friday, Dec. 17, on the Big Rapids campus. Committee meetings begin at 10 a.m., followed by the full board meeting at 11 a.m.