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Six things from the Board of Trustees meeting you need to know about

Board of Trustees meeting on April 12
Board of Trustees meeting on April 12

As the Auburn University Board of Trustees met on Friday in Montgomery, several topics directly relating to students and the Auburn family were discussed. Whether it was athletic facility upgrades or the creation of an entirely new degree, a lot of ground was covered. Here’s what you need to know.

Student center Starbucks receiving renovation

Initially approved at the June 17, 2022, meeting, the Starbucks located on the second floor of the Melton Student Center will be relocated downstairs to where Au Bon Pain currently is.

The project will renovate roughly 2,400 sq. ft. in order to accommodate the equipment necessary to serve the full Starbucks menu. Additions include a larger point of sale and brewing station, a mobile pick-up counter and a new lounge space that would offer additional seating.

According to the Board of Trustees, this project will cost $1.75 million and will be funded by Campus Dining.

Seay, Seay, and Litchfield Architects of Montgomery, Alabama, was chosen as the project architect.

Plainsman Park improvements

While Auburn baseball fans have known about this upgrade to Plainsman Park for some time, final details of the project were released Friday.

According to renderings provided by the Board of Trustees, virtually every addition to the stadium would be for fans, including an expansion of the covered awning, a three-story expansion of premium seating along the first baseline stands, a new club space, additional concessions stands, improved accessibility for the south entrance and the right field terrace, additional seating over the player performance development facility, a 4,200 sq. fr. viewing area over the left field wall and adjacent concessions and restrooms.

The project is expected to cost $30 million and is to be funded by a combination of gifts, athletic department funds and University bonds.

Cooke Douglass Farr Lemons of Jackson, Mississippi, was chosen as the architect for the project.

Recreation and Wellness Center renovation for Health Promotion and Wellness Services

In a move aimed at consolidating student well-being resources under the same roof, the Board of Trustees approved the relocation of the office of Health Promotion and Wellness Services from the Melton Student Center to the Recreation and Wellness Center.

The project would see the Recreation and Wellness Center’s basement renovated into office space to accommodate the move. While the cost associated with the move has not yet been released, the plan released at Friday’s meeting revealed funding would come from campus recreation funds.

Services provided by the office include individualized nutrition advice, wellness coaching and alcohol and substance use counseling.

McWhorter Center gymnastics and softball team area renovation

Considering the recent success of both Auburn’s softball and gymnastics teams, the Board of Trustees approved the renovation of team areas in the McWhorter Center to help them “compete nationally at the highest level.”

Changes to the 33,500 sq. ft., two-story building include makeovers to both the gymnastics and softball team locker rooms, training rooms and the replacement of various building systems such as ventilation.

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The project is expected to cost around $4.9 million and is to be funded by gifts and athletic department funds.

Davis Architects of Birmingham, Alabama, was chosen as the project architect.

Proposed Bachelor of Science in Public and One Health

In what will be the first undergraduate program offered by Auburn University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, the Board of Trustees approved the creation of the Bachelor of Science in Public and One Health.

The program will serve as the primary undergrad academic unit within the college and will have a  multi-disciplinary curriculum with courses provided by other colleges.

According to Interim Provost and Sr. VP for Academic Affairs Vini Nathan, the global health emergency brought on by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic was the inspiration behind the creation of the program. 

During her presentation, Nathan said it will aim to address the need for a one health systems approach. In the report published by the Board of Trustees, 75% of new or emerging infectious diseases in humans come from animals, which is why the College of Veterinarian Medicine was chosen to lead this initiative.

For the first three years, the program is expected to receive a cohort of roughly 50 students annually.

Clinic buildings demolition

In addition to the numerous construction and renovation projects approved by the Board of Trustees, a series of related demolition projects were also greenlighted Friday. 

As previously reported by The Plainsman, the plan to tear down the Early Learning Center and other vacant nearby buildings associated with the College of Human Sciences will proceed as planned.

Before its closure near the end of the spring 2022 semester, the Early Learning Center had operated in the same building off the Haley Concourse since 1939.

Demolition of the buildings, which is expected to cost $3.05 million, will begin in the summer of 2023 to begin site preparation for the planned University Student Housing project. Until the new housing begins, the area will be designated as a campus green space.

All work is scheduled to be completed before football season begins.

Daniel Schmidt | Assistant News Editor

Daniel Schmidt, senior in journalism, is the assistant news editor for the Auburn Plainsman. 

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