Advising moving to McAfee basement

Analicia Haynes, Senior Reporter

Academic advising at Ninth Street Hall will be moving to the basement of McAfee by next semester. 

The new nursing program will now be housed at the Ninth Street Hall building because of accreditation requirements. 

Paul McCann, the interim vice president for business affairs, said after a Friday afternoon Council on University Planning and Budget meeting that this move is in the process. 

McCann confirmed the move after being asked what he meant when he said McAfee will be used on a more regular basis during the meeting. 

Making McAfee More Accessible

McCann said during his meeting report that the elevator at student services and the elevator at McAfee have been turned over to the university. 

“There is still a little more work that we need to do but they have been turned over to us and we will be able to start using it immediately,” McCann said. 

McAfee has never had an elevator and McCann said this makes the building more accessible than before. 

The elevator was in the works as of 2015 but the project was put on hold after Illinois entered the budget impasse and the money to pay for the elevator could not be dispersed.

McCann said the state finally released the rest of the money to finish the elevator project. 

Director of Facilities Tim Zimmer said after the meeting that McAfee had a wooden ramp to enter the building and a wheelchair lift inside the building before the elevator was finished. However, there was no motorized door operator, he said. 

Zimmer said friends of the campus and alumni voiced concerns especially after Charleston City Councilman Matthew Hutti needed to get into the building for events like Homecoming. 

“City Councilman Hutti uses a motorized chair and his wheelchair was too heavy for the lift,” Zimmer said. “(The lift) would trip out so they had to find other ways to get him in for special events (like homecoming).” 

Zimmer said the elevator in McAfee and in Student Services helps make more of the campus accessible.

McCann also said during the meeting that an engineer was on campus and looked at the McAfee façade to see what work needs to be done. 

McCann said hopefully the university will start being able to finish the work so they can remove the scaffold in front of the building, across from the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union. 

“We’d like to be able to remove that scaffold before we start using that building on a more regular basis next school year,” McCann said. 

The Move From Ninth Street

“There’s some nice space (down there),” Zimmer said after being asked whether the basement was “a little dingy.” 

Zimmer and McCann said they only know that Trio and Academic Advising were moving. Testing and Evaluation and the Student Success Center are also housed at Ninth Street Hall. 

McCann said Nursing will take over much of the Ninth Street Hall building.

“We are working on it now, (and we are) getting McAfee ready. (We’re) painting, we’re going to change out some carpeting,” McCann said. 

He said they are still working on fixing up McAfee and do not know how much it will cost, if anything. 

The Nursing Program Update

The Illinois Board of Nursing approved Eastern’s feasibility study into the new program, according to a Jan. 28 article in The Daily Eastern News. The Board of Trustees first approved the program at a Sept. 13, 2019 meeting. 

In the Jan. 28 article, Eastern Provost Jay Gatrell said progress in developing the new program is moving along quickly. 

“Gatrell said there is still a lot of work to be done and there would be a ‘complex series of moves over the summer months’ regarding the nursing program,” the article read. “The Illinois Board of Higher Education still must approve the new academic unit which would solidify nursing as a department at Eastern, being just one of the still many steps left in the process of beginning the program.”

Faculty Senate member and associate professor of nursing Sue Gosse said during a Jan. 28 Faculty Senate meeting that things are moving quickly thanks to Gatrell’s hard work during the process. 

“There is still a lot left to be done however, including the procurement of facilities and equipment and the approval of curriculum,” according to the Jan. 28 article.

At a Jan. 25 Board of Trustees meeting, the board approved the purchase of new simulation lab equipment, which includes new interactive manikins and a simulation system for a “high quality experience” for new students in the new School of Nursing. 

McCann said during the Jan. 25 meeting that this is a significant purchase because it is one of the first things needed to move forward with the nursing program. 

“This is a fairly complex purchase and this first part is a market basket of items that we need to pass the School of Nursing’s inspection later this summer,” McCann said. “We are buying only the items we need at this time.”

The agreement will have a contract term of 10 years, and the initial purchase is about $200,000 and includes a five-year maintenance agreement and related Consumer Price Index increases, according to the Board reports. 

For the entire term of the contract, the total estimated price will not exceed $1.4 million.

McCann said the funding for this purchase comes from local and gift funds.

This is a developing story. 

Analicia Haynes can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]