Courtway considers Donaghey construction at ‘Campus Talk’

At the Nov. 15 Campus Talk, President Tom Courtway said UCA’s Board of Trustees will begin discussions with Conway Mayor Tab Townsell on projects between roads near campus at its Dec. 13 meeting.

Campus planning efforts in relation to Donaghey Avenue include questions about possible future student housing.

“It has to be determined what Donaghey Avenue is going to be,” Courtway said. “Is it going to stay a two-lane road with a turning lane or is it going to be a four-lane roadway with a median down the middle.”

Roundabouts on Donaghey Avenue that intersect with College Avenue, Bruce Street and Robins Street are being considered.

“You can’t build buildings up next to a street unless you know how wide the streets are going to be and what its going to look like,” he said.

Courtway said the conversation is exciting and important for the university.

“There are a lot of other possibilities when you start looking at it,” he said.

Donaghey Avenue is “UCA’s historic and current ‘front door’” and the route most visitors take to enter the campus, according to the 2011 UCA Master Plan.

The board of trustees will also discuss the Lewis Science Center’s future at its December meeting.

Courtway answered three anonymous questions submitted for the talk— one relating to a statue or sculpture for brain aneurysm awareness, one expressing concern about admission standards and another regarding the earning commons project.

“[A statue or sculpture] would have to be considered by the Public Art Committee,” he said. “That’s a new one on me so I’ll pass it along and see what the recommendation would be, if any. We have to be very careful about sculptures and things on campus and in public spaces.”

The Learning Commons project, according to the university master plan, is scdheduled for Phase I of the plan and would replace Torreyson Library. It would include learning spaces and be a “cutting-edge, multi-media, 21st century learning resource.”

“I don’t think [the project has]been abandoned,” he said “It’s just, if you look at the master plan [and]the timeline for all those buildings, there were a whole lot of buildings that were scheduled to be built between 2011 and 2016. Obviously, we don’t have the funds to do that so the board has to set priorities about what is next.”

The question submitted said, “In my opinion, the current admissions standards are too low and are hurting the school’s academic prestige and retention rate.”

Courtway said admissions standards are being reviewed by Provost Steve Runge and others in a committee and that he hopes they will be strengthened by fall 2015.

“I’m certainly not an expert on that, but I certainly believe long term it has an effect on our retention and graduation rates,” he said.

Following the questions, Courtway said the Higher Learning Commission visit went well and that preliminary results will be available before Christmas break.

Student Government Association President Adam Price, senior, said the Student Activity Fee Allocation process is completed.

“[During the process,] $283,000 [was]requested and we allocated $150,981.26,” he said. “That’s really excited to be able to fund organizations’ events that they want to have next semester.”

Price said SGA and college campuses across the state are planning a day at the capital Feb. 18, 2014 to discuss higher education funding and the Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarship.

Lindsey Osborne, staff senate president, said the university’s Angel Bear Tree event is in progress. The staff contest this year for the annual winter feast features video submissions.

Submissions are 90-120 seconds and cover how different cultures celebrate the holiday season. Voting will follow on OrgSync after the Dec. 9 Angel Bear Tree deadline. Faculty and staff will be able to vote for their favorite video.

Tickets are $5 for faculty staff to provide gifts for unadopted angels.

UCA Faculty Senate President Charles Watson said an abbreviated session Nov. 14 regarding professional development extended programs requirements focused on faculty and staff.

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