Master Plan optimistic for funding

On Friday the Board of Trustees approved revisions to the Campus Master Plan.

With the approval of this plan and the three major revisions included in it Eastern is investing in its future by taking a step in the right direction and helping to recruit students in the sciences.

The plan outlines updates to the campus that will occur over the next 10 years according to an article from Tuesday’s edition of The Daily Eastern News titled “Master plan updates, housing rate increase approved by board.”

Included in the plan is a new science building. The new building will be built south of the Tarble Arts Center in the area now known as the “Tundra.”

While there have been some arguments that this will displace the marching band, which currently practices in this area, the athletics department has promised to provide alternate accommodations for the band.

The new science building has been a long time coming and we can only hope it will fulfill all the needs of the physical science departments.

President William Perry has said the new science building is projected to cost about $75 million and will only partially be funded by the campus improvement fee that all students pay.

The plan also includes the development of a new “one-stop shop” student center located where the steam plant currently resides. This student center would host financial aid, enrollment management, technology support and other support departments that are now scattered across campus.

The third major part of the plan is the Center for Clean Energy Research and Education, which will be incorporated into the Renewable Energy Center. This new center will allow for a new interdisciplinary minor in Sustainability Studies and an Alternative Energies and Sustainability concentration in the Applied Engineering and Technology major.

We believe that it is the goal of any institution to develop a plan that expands the current campus to fit the academic and size needs of the future population. That being said, in light of the current economic state and the state’s budget deficit estimated at at least $13 billion, these plans, while idealistic, should made with these limitations in mind.

Hopefully the our future state budget situation will not be a repeat of 2003 when construction on the new Doudna Fine Arts Center was postponed for about a year when funding from the state was not available.

In an article from Jan. 14 titled “Master Plan ready for approval” Perry said “I see the Master Plan as something completely feasible. We’re going to have to work hard and convince people to invest. I’ve always believed that if you wait for everything to be perfect, you’ll never get started.”

We agree with this statement and hope that when the time comes for the state to pay its portion of the cost we are not left hanging again.