By DAVID DUPONT
BG Independent News
Bruce Meyer doesn’t have a crystal ball on his desk.
As Bowling Green State University’s vice president for capital planning and campus operations, Meyer could use one at times.
“My job involves working with faculty, working with staff, working with the community,” he said. “We’re trying to predict the future as to what programs may have to be put in place, what classroom might look like, what residence halls might look like, so when it comes time to build, we’ll have an idea of what those will look like.”
Meyer is engaged in the early stages of coming up with the campus master plan 2.0, he said. That involves interviewing the leadership of BGSU. “That’s been very interesting and informative for me about where we may be heading next.”
That peering in the future, however, comes at a time when he and his team are working on the final stages of the campus master plan. That one dates to 2008, though, work didn’t start until 2010, about the time Meyer, a long-time resident of Bowling Green, arrived back at his alma mater.
Now construction is well underway on the Mauer Center, the new home of the College of Business.
That project is converting Hanna Hall and expanding it by twice its current size.
He said he was recently did a walkthrough Hanna Hall. “It’s pretty amazing to go into the building,” he said. “They’ve started to take some of the walls out because it’s going to be an open concept. … It’s going to be one of those buildings where you’ll want to stop and see what’s going on in there.”
The Mauer Center is scheduled to open a year from now.
The next piece is a complete renovation of the College of Technology, Architecture and Applied Engineering. The programming for the building and visits to other campuses to see their technology buildings are underway.
Next summer will see a renewal of the conversion of classrooms into active learning spaces. One of the earliest projects accomplished under the master plan was the creation of prototype classrooms in Olscamp.
“We’re starting to get comments back from students that are very positive,” Meyer said. “They really like the active learning classrooms.”
While these don’t get the attention that a new building or complete renovation of an iconic building such as University Hall get, their impact is as great. “It’s off the charts. That’s where future teachers from this university start. They get to see what active learning is.” That will help shape their own teaching.
Meyer added: “We also have to have some discussion about the residence halls.”
The Master Plan calls not just for building but tearing down. Harshman Quad was razed earlier in the summer. Now the fence is down and grass is planted. Trees will go in this fall. The future use of the site, though, is still uncertain.
Another building is slated to come down is the Administrative Building. That’s scheduled for 2021. That will mean the relocation of offices of marketing and communication, registrar, bursar, financial aid and the College of Arts and Sciences.
The intent is to open up the campus to the community. Already the campus looks better with the removal of West Hall and the Family and Consumer Science building, Meyer said.
Bringing the campus and community together is a mission close to Meyer’s heart.
He first moved here from Auburn, Indiana, in 1977. He came to work at Cooper Standard, and to complete his degree. Having a full-time job and being a student required developing discipline.
But then Meyer said, he likes being busy.
That included during his decades at Cooper, earning a Master of Business Administration through Notre Dame’s executive MBA program and being active in the local community. He served a term as president of the BG Chamber of Commerce at one point.
He and his wife, Julie, now retired from BGSU, raised their three children here. All graduated from university. “I’ve been in Bowling Green a very long time.. I still think Bowling Green is one of the best places to work and raise a family.”
He worked as plant manager at the Cooper Standard BG plant until he left to take the same position at the Cooper plant in the United Kingdom. He retired from Cooper Standard after 18 months in that position, returning to Northwest Ohio to become dean of business, engineering technologies, and workforce development at Terra Community College. Then three years later his alma mater came calling.
He was recruited to head up campus operations by his boss Sheri Stoll, chief financial officer, and the late Steve Krakoff, then vice president of capital planning. The campus operations job involves supervising the maintenance and upkeep of BGSU’s facilities.
“When I got here, I really wanted to understand how this really works in a large university,” he said. “I wanted to find out how a university works and the best way was to immerse myself.”
That meant getting involved in a number of programs and committees. He also started teaching in the College of Business.
And he was still a student, working on a doctorate in Leadership and Policy, which he’d started while at Terra and received in 2011.
Meyer took over as interim vice president for capital planning when Krakoff died in October, 2017. He was appointed permanently in July.
“The biggest challenge was just that he was involved in so many different things,” Meyer said. “He was a true visionary. … I know the university misses him, and I miss him as well.”
He left behind a team that Meyer credits with the progress that’s being made.
That work is not done.
“There are still a lot of opportunities on the campus to update it and to make it more inviting,” he said.
Recalled the comment of made by a graduate last summer. The alumnus hadn’t been on campus in 20 years, Meyer said.
“You’ve changed the look, but you keep the feel,” the visitor said.
“That’s an incredible compliment,” Meyer said. “That to me said we’ve done a great job.”