BGSU trustees okay money & authority for university to buy adjacent properties

Nee Chair Megan Newlove addresses the BGSU Board of Trustees after David Levey hands her the gavel..


BG Independent News

The Bowling Green State University Board of Trustees Friday again gave approval and money to the administration to purchase adjacent properties as they come on the market.

That can be done if the university needs the land for development or to improve the aesthetics around the campus.

Sheri Stoll, vice president for finance, said during the morning informational meeting that the limited authority to purchase real estate dates back to 2003. The authority is renewed every two years. The authorization is for up to $1 million.

The most recent purchases were two houses on the corner of East Wooster and College and two houses on Troupe Street.

The houses on Troupe Street have been turned into places where forensic science students can student crime scene procedures.

Stoll said sometimes when a house “is deemed not in horrible condition,” it can renovated and used as temporary housing for faculty or staff. Only one house is now being so used. Otherwise as is the case of the two houses on East Wooster they are torn down. She said will plant grass and leave the lots as green space “until such time we have some use for that.”

In the past two years the university has spent $631,000 using the limited authority, she said.

Board Chair David Levey, in his last meeting as a trustee, encouraged Stoll to buy up whatever became available. While the university’s side of East Wooster has really been cleaned up, nothing has been done across the street.

That makes a poor first impression. Levey, a housing developer, said he was struck by the contrast when he first returned to campus nine years ago. Pointing to a campus map, he encouraged the board to see to it that “when kids come back to campus 40 years from now that this looks like part of the university. When property comes available buy it. That really should become an extension of campus.”

That will take, he said, a couple decades to accomplish.

Megan Newlove, of Bowling Green, was elected the chair at the meeting.

During the afternoon business session as part of his farewell, he said he was disappointed he wouldn’t be on board when the Harshman Quadrangle comes down. A few weeks ago he told Faculty Senate that when he returned to campus and saw it, he wondered why it was still there, and almost turned around and headed back to Akron.

“It was a dump when I lived in it,” he said.

Harshman is now slated for demolition as are Family and Consumer Science and West Hall, which will come down this summer.

Add in the upgrades in the electrical system on campus, she said, there’ll be “a lot of noise and a lot of dirt” this summer as well as disruptions of parking. But with the completion of the renovations of Moseley and University halls, it is also “a very exciting time.”

In other financial business, the trustees approved a new fee schedule for learning communities.

These learning communities have brought national attention to BGSU, which currently has nine.

However, Stoll said, over the years as they’ve been created, and some disbanded, the financial structure has gotten “out of synch.” Some have more extensive costs, such a director.

The measure approved by the trustees makes that more uniform, with some communities seeing slight increases, some will see no change or even decreases.

The structure will also be easier to explain to prospective students and their families, Stoll said.

The change in fees will only generate $5,600 in new revenue.

Three new learning communities are planned. The Business District, starting in fall, and Forensic Science and Health and Wellness, beginning in fall, 2018.