Facilities Workgroup considers recommendation revisions

Abbey Whittington, Associate News Editor


Workgroup No. 5, charged with looking at facilities, discussed its plan to modify their recommendations based on the responses they received about their report.

Workgroup chair Steven Daniels, also chair of the physics department, said Eastern President David Glassman wanted the group to review the responses to the group’s recommendations, reassess the preliminary recommendation drafts with the responses considered and potentially request additional data.

Daniels said in addition to modifying, leaving or deleting a recommendation, the group can also add new ideas to the report, but these recommendations have to be clearly stated as new.

Matt Brown, associate director of housing and dining, said one of the major obstacles for the group is funding, and there was a request for them to prioritize what will be funded first.

“One of the things that stuck out to me is that possibly we could say, ‘Here are recommendations that we feel would require minimal financial investment, and there are a couple of them, and then maybe we have a couple different categories as funding is available, so here’s this,’” Brown said.

Daniels said this raises the question of whether the group is working toward best marketability, or just reporting what they are likely to do and not to do.

He said he thinks they need to be working toward what is best for the university.

“Certainly, dollars are going to impact what they actually do, but I think we need to say what’s best for the university from start to finish and not worry about the dollars as much,” Daniels said. “Because that’s ultimately what I think my response to a lot of these comments is.”

Daniels said while not everyone is going to agree, as the change can be difficult and things could get costly, he thinks the university needs to head in this direction to be more impactful in terms of marketability.

Brown suggested qualifying resources as things become available since Eastern does not always have the funding for every resource. He said it is a struggle to modify and keep things steady.

Scott Hall, the superintendent of grounds, said there are many aspects of facilities the group could touch on with more time, but he does not know if they could do more than they have already with the final report due Dec. 15.

Brown said in terms of the current state of the university, they wanted to brainstorm and build the grandest plan with his immediate plan being to look at things from immediate term to short term.

Daniels said while Brown’s ideas have more to do with operations and running smoothly, he thinks the group should focus on the look of Eastern.

He said after hearing Glassman’s thoughts, he thinks maybe the group should not directly answer to the comments on the recommendations and instead just modify or create a solution in their final report.

“If we respond to all the comments, it’s gonna end up just pi**ing people off more,” Daniels said. “It’s probably better to just say, ‘You know, we realize that not everybody is going to agree with what we’re saying, but we want to be positive and make things marketable, we want to take things forward and we want to help the university move to the next millennium.’”

Abbey Whittington can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].