Board of trustees gathers for budgetary, renovation matters


William Becker, Reporter

The App State board of trustees met Friday in the university’s Grandview Ballroom to gather reports from its various committees, approve several items related to the university’s budget and hear remarks from Chancellor Sheri Everts.

Student Affairs

Prior to the BOT’s full meeting, the Student Affairs Committee met at 11 a.m. for a presentation about New Mountaineer and Family Engagement, the newest department within the Division of Student Affairs. The presentation was delivered by its executive director, Sarah Garrow.

“The New Mountaineer and Family Engagement department’s committed to providing a supportive transition for all new Mountaineers and their families by fostering a sense of belonging and really a sense of purpose,” Garrow said.

 The new program is designed to provide a “smooth transition” for students and parents alike into App State’s community. Garrow provided an overview of student orientation for fall 2023, which will be divided into separate sessions for first-year, transfer and online students, as well as two in-person orientation sessions for students at the new App State Hickory campus.

Garrow said the sessions in Hickory will show “all of the resources available to all App students” as well as “the unique components that also go along with our Hickory campus.”

Extended summer orientation programs were also discussed, including the updated four-day, three-night Trailhead Experience and new regional programs that will take place in Charlotte, Raleigh and the Triad.

“We’re going to host fun interactive programs and thanks to Alumni Affairs, we’re going to have some alumni chapter volunteers in those areas also help us kind of facilitate and plan those activities,” Garrow said.

The department’s transitional programming for incoming students and family engagement opportunities was also discussed. 

Plans were set for the university’s first Spring Family Weekend this past Friday to Sunday and next semester’s Fall Family Weekend from Sept. 15-17, as well as the Mountaineer Family Experience, which is a new, user-adaptive online platform for families. 

Growth and development in programs and student engagement were also discussed, particularly with regard to online and App State Hickory students.

“For those two populations, we never want them to feel like they are an addition to our community, but they are a part of our community,” Garrow said. 


Chancellor Sheri Everts’ remarks

BOT convened at 2 p.m. to discuss and act on several items on their agenda. The meeting began with remarks by Chancellor Sheri Everts, which started with her recent meetings with the university’s national representatives, including U.S. Senator Ted Budd, U.S. Congresswoman Virginia Foxx and U.S. Congressman Patrick McHenry.

“This was an important opportunity to speak with our nation’s leadership about the incredible accomplishments of App State’s faculty, staff and students,” Everts said. “We look forward to additional opportunities like this, including the potential for App State faculty and staff to share their expertise and their work at a federal level.”

Everts discussed the Reich College of Education’s continued success, having become “the top alma mater in the nation for the number of National Board Certified Teachers” for the seventh year in a row. She also recognized the Walker College of Business and its MBA concentration in leading and managing human resources program, which was selected by The Princeton Review as the sixth best MBA Program for Human Resources in the country for 2023.

Everts further discussed the App State Hickory campus, which is currently undergoing renovations in preparation for its opening in fall 2023. Current renovations are being focused on the building’s utilities, IT network and roof.

Everts also spoke about the university’s six-year plan delivered to the UNC system in fall 2022. This plan includes continued work at App State Hickory, the replacement of IG Greer Hall, renovations to Peacock Hall and the development of the Innovation District, which will begin this summer with the construction of the Conservatory for Biodiversity Education and Research. Additional projects including renovations to Wey and Edwin Duncan Halls, as well as the upcoming construction of the Holmes Parking Deck, were also mentioned.


BOT meeting

Following the conclusion of Everts’ remarks, reports were delivered by the Academic Affairs, Athletics, Audit, Finance and Operations and Student Affairs Committees.

Finance and Operations Committee Chair J. Jeffries Chesson presented several exhibits on the consent agenda for approval, including budgetary matters and renovations to both academic and dining facilities. Chesson said one project will be the consolidation of two photography labs into a single space within Katherine Harper Hall. 

Regarding campus dining, another project Chesson discussed is the renovation of App State’s Chick-fil-A, located within Sanford Commons in Roess Dining Hall.

“The current configuration is self-service,” Chesson said. “This project will transform the space into a full-service operation. The project will be funded by the dining room revenues.”

Chesson provided an overview of several funding increases, including one for the App State Conservatory for Biodiversity, Education and Research from $54 million to $64 million.

“This will be a $10 million increase to the project to address inflationary cost escalations,” Chesson said.

Additional funding increases were outlined for the university’s athletic facilities, including the App 105 complex where tennis and softball facilities will be relocated, as well as plans for a new indoor football practice facility.

Revisions were also made to the delegations of the Authority Resolution originally approved in September 2021.

“The proposed change will allow the chancellor to appoint and fix compensation of all tier two senior academic and administrative officer positions pursuant to the UNC Policy Manual and the UNC systems office guidance,” Chesson said.

All items on the consent agenda were approved with no further discussion.