Board of trustees discuss renovations and safety

By Cyndi Loza

The University of Illinois Board of Trustees met Thursday at the University of Illinois at Springfield’s campus to discuss problems throughout the three schools.

The Board addressed the issue of deferred maintenance on the three campuses, which can possibly lead to a tuition increase. The University’s Urbana-Champaign campus exceeds more than $600 million in deferred maintenance.

Pedestrian safety on the University’s campus and the continuing steps toward adding a new residence hall in the Peabody and Gregory Drives Residence Halls, more commonly know as the Six Pack, were also discussed.

Sarah Mangelsdorf, dean of LAS, addressed the 2002 audit of facilities across the three campuses.

She gave the example of the deteriorating Lincoln Hall, which allegedly “has animals inside the building,” to further reiterate the problem.

The board has not made a decision as to what they plan to do to fix the maintenance problems, but a tuition increase was considered.

“If we raise tuition I want to see those dollars, in essence, go to students, whether it go to the classrooms to improve student learning, or whether it go to hiring better faculty,” said Shumail Alam, student member of the Board of Trustees from the Chicago campus.

A segment of the meeting was held for the student trustees, one student from each campus, addressing problems they felt were important.

“I actually live and learn on campus, and I know some of the issues we face and need to address,” said Student Trustee Nick Klitzing, junior in LAS.

Klitzing noted the problem in lecture-sized classrooms and the problems they give to both students and teaching assistants.

Also on the agenda was the approval of the employment of architects and engineers for conceptualization to build a new residence hall in the Six Pack.

Klitzing said the proposed residence hall would include a large cafeteria in addition to conference rooms and student recreation areas. The residence hall would connect to a building that houses students with physical disabilities.

The building, Klitzing said, will further integrate students with disabilities into campus life.

Pedestrian safety at the University was also among the issues addressed at the meeting. University Chancellor Richard Herman discussed the new measures being proposed.

After the recent deaths of students Sarah Channick and Carolyn Jeffers, further traffic safety measures were discussed. Among them is the reduction in the speed limit for the Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District buses from 25 mph to 20 mph and speed radar sensors on the streets. Herman also said he thinks there should be a reduction in bus frequency on campus in general.

“Right now I think that there are, in my view, too many buses on campus,” Herman said.

Reducing bus frequency can possibly inconvenience students, he said.

“I think you inconvenience yourself a little bit to be safe,” Herman said. “Exactly where the balance is remains to be determined, but I think the students are notably concerned and they should be. … I certainly am.”