OU BOT discusses presidential search, power systems and additional space


Oakland University’s Board of Trustees met Monday Oct. 7 to discuss the creation of new committees, the installation of a new power system and the request for state funding towards a new building project.


New committees created

Charters for a governance committee, executive committee, facilities committee and an ad hoc presidential search committee were approved and memberships appointed to each.

Trustee Ronald E. Robinson proposed several amendments to the duties and function descriptions of each committee.


Presidential search

One proposal was to add Interim President Betty Youngblood as an ex-facto member to the ad hoc presidential committee, as well as two professors. This was denied, but at the end of the meeting’s agenda Kevin Grimm, associate professor of English, urged the Board to reconsider Robinson’s proposal.

“I think she would be an invaluable addition to the committee,” Grimm said.


New heating and power system

The Board also passed a resolution to install a 46,000 Kilowatts natural gas turbine co-generation system in the Central Heating Plant. The system will be installed by Chevron Energy Solutions.

These proposals were made to the Board by Terry Stollsteimer, associate vice president of Facilities Management.

The new system will provide both hot water and electricity, whereas the boilers that are in place now only supply hot water, according to Stollsteimer.

With Chevron, the projected total cost over three years is $11 million. The cost will be paid off in 15 years and the life expectancy of the machine is at least 50 years, according to Stollsteimer and a Chevron representative.

The machine will be fully operational by 2016.


Adding space to Varner

James Lentini, senior vice president for Academic Affairs and provost, addressed the board about the need for more space for the 14 departments and programs that use Varner Hall.

Due to the wide mix of classes and disciplines, Lentini said it was necessary to request the building of new space adjacent to Varner Hall.

Projected expenses for new square footage were $98 million. Lentini said he hoped the state would fund part of that amount. 

The motion was approved. There will be a capital campaign planning session Oct. 31, according to John W. Beaghan, vice president for Finance and Administration and treasurer to the Board.


A citizen speaks

After all agenda items had been covered, David Ashland, a member of the audience, appeared before the board.

“I have no affiliation with OU… except that I’m a basketball fan,” Ashland said as an introduction.

Ashland said that he had once addressed the Board three years ago about a publication concerning previous OU coach Beckie Francis. Ashland said the publication had had a strong religious emphasis, which he suggested be removed.

The next year all references to religion had been removed, and Ashland said he was pleased.

“I commend the board… for this change and other changes that happened in the program,” Ashland said.