Ball State University’s Board of Trustees held their first public meeting of the academic year on Friday.
The board started their meeting with unanimously approving their new student trustee Hope Churchill. She will serve on the Academic and Student Affairs Committee.
The board approved the disclosure of financial statements from three faculty members for textbook royalties and from an instructor in the Center for Information Communication Sciences who provides services at Camp Adventure for the Department of Education.
Afterward, the board approved external audits.
James Lowe, associate vice president for facilities planning and management, and Brock Roseberry, a College of Architecture and Planning graduate, reviewed the design for the Performing Arts Center (PAC). The PAC will serve as theatre and learning space for the Ball State Theatre and Dance program, along with being a hotel.
The overall project is anticipated to cost $60 million. The PAC will be 2-stories with a main stage that seats 425 people and and a “Black Box” studio that can seat up to 200. There will also be a scene shop and costume shop to act as learning labs for students.
The lobby of the PAC will connect to the hotel, which is 4-stories, and will have 90 to 100 keys and a rooftop bar.
“People are gonna want to come here to Ball State University to benchmark it,” Lowe said.”We’re taking all those things learned from other facilities, and we’ll bring it into this design. So, when it's finished, we'll have folks coming here to look at Ball State University's facility, making it best in class.”
The PAC is expected to be finished by late summer 2026. It will be located in The Village on the northeast corner of University and McKinley Avenues.
Ball State’s first-year enrollment for fall 2023 improved from fall 2022’s numbers, as revealed at Ball State’s Board of Trustees Sept 15.
Paula Luff, vice president for enrollment, planning, and management, said there were 3,816 first-year students who began in the fall 2023, a 9 percent increase from the 3,482 first year students who started at the university in fall 2022. This class size eclipses the average pre-pandemic class size of 3,751.
“It’s a great win for Ball State,” Luff said.
Of these new students, 90 percent are Indiana residents, and 28 percent of them are students of color. The number of applications increased to 28,054 for the fall 2023 semester, something that Luff said is due to the addition of the Common App.
Adding onto the discussion of first-year students was Jason Rivera, vice provost of student success and dean of University College, who discussed the “Your First Year Flight Path Program” for incoming first-year students.
Ball State President Geoffrey S. Mearns said, in the spirit of Beneficence, he wanted to propose a one-time supplemental pay for Ball State faculty and staff.
The motion was approved unanimously.
“They always rise to the challenge,” Rick Hall, vice chair of the board of trustees, said.
James Williams, Muncie Community Schools (MCS) board president, and Lee Ann Kwiatkowski, MCS director of public education and chief executive officer, gave an update on the MCS partnership with Ball State.
Williams said the student population stabilized with pre-kindergarten increasing 300 percent with 197 students enrolled. He also said there’s 4,912 students enrolled in-person and 5,031 enrolled in Powerschool.
“We see an uptick in kindergarten, sometimes in different schools, but not at the same rate we were hoping it would be,” Kwiatkowski said. “That is something that we continue trying to share the message about the district and having everybody recognize the growth and some of those old feelings having them go away. That's what we continue to work towards.”
The board also approved Ball State President Geoffrey Mearns’ one-time request to pay $1,000 to full-time employees and $500 to part-time employees.
The next meeting will be Friday, Dec. 15.