The UCA Board of Trustees resolved Friday to raise the annual room and board rates about 3 percent for the 2008 academic school year.
At the request of SGA, summer meal plans are optional for students living on campus beginning with the 2008 summer sessions.
Auxiliary services director Tom Pilgreen said the increases in room and board fees cover the rising cost of living and cost of food.
“Housing alone is a 1.5 percent increase, and this is mainly to cover utilities,” Pilgreen said. “The price of the standard board plan should also be increased to cover the increased costs of the Aramark contract.”
The board renewed Aramark’s one-year food-service contract, which raises the university’s expenses by 4.5 percent, resulting in a $50 increase for students on the unlimited, 15-, 10- and eight-meals-per-week meal plans.
The dormitory double-occupancy room rate is increasing $20, and the private room rate is increasing $100. Most apartment room rates are increasing at least $100.
Apartment rates were adjusted for 2008 based on the differences in amenities that different apartment complexes offer.
The board also resolved to grant easements to the city of Conway to build a roundabout at Bruce Street and Farris Road to help with traffic flow, especially during the mornings when students and faculty drive to UCA.
President Lu Hardin said he was skeptical when Conway built roundabouts at Prince Street by Conway High School and on Bob Courtway Drive east of Hendrix College.
“The success of Prince Street has made me a believer; I do think a roundabout [on Bruce and Farris]will work,” Hardin said. “I know that Mayor [Tab] Townsell is a passionate advocate of roundabouts.”
Tom Courtway, UCA general counsel to the president’s office, said the university would not lose much property if the city built a roundabout at the intersection.
“Roundabouts keep traffic moving; and, besides, I think it will beautify that side of campus,” Courtway said.
Easements are needed from the UCA Alumni Board and the Westgate Property Association before construction, set for summer, would begin.
The board also granted right of way and easements to Conway Corp. to add an eight-inch water line extending north from Bruce Street to the planned gross anatomy lab location on to the west end of the Doyne Health Science Center.
Construction on the water line, which has begun, runs 105 feet down the center of the sidewalk west of the proposed science lab.
In other business, the board authorized the renovation of Alumni Circle, estimated to cost $500,000 and the hiring of design professionals for an adjacent circle drive.
Vice President Jack Gillean said the Alumni Circle reconstruction is a two-part project because, with the redesign of the current circle drive into a student commons area, a new circle drive is needed for university shuttles.
“The idea is to make a new circle – more of an oval, I suppose – where shuttles would go to pick up and drop off students,” Gillean said.
The new circle drive, projected to cost an additional $250,000, would be located east of the current Alumni Circle, closer to Donaghey Avenue.
The board also approved the purchase of 7.5 acres on South Donaghey Avenue from the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management.
The $375,000 property contains several buildings, mobile homes and an underground bunker, which provides almost 20,000 square feet of storage and office space.
Courtway said part of the property will be leased to the City of Conway and he anticipated the property could potentially hold a fire department, state police offices, UCA Physical Plant buildings and a cell tower.
Payments to the state are scheduled for a five-year period, with $100,000 in payments during the first two years after the sale.
In the president’s report, Hardin said construction of the business building on the parking lot between Wingo Hall and AETN should begin in April or May.
Hardin said 300 parking spaces will be added to the parking lot west of the UCA Physical Plant building to account for the spaces lost because of construction and the finished building.
“Our parking, though not perfect, is in good condition compared to many other colleges,” Hardin said. “Unless a student has been to another college, they don’t know that. We’re doing good in the area of parking.”
If construction stays on schedule, classes in the building should begin in September 2009, Hardin said.
The board also approved a revision of the university’s Web-design policy to assure all sites on the UCA Web site are approved by the president or his designee, currently Associate Vice President of Communications Warwick Sabin.
The goal of the change is to ensure the UCA Web site has a single theme throughout.
In other business, Hardin presented Kay Hinkle with a resolution recognizing her as board chairwoman for 2007. Randy Sims is now chairman.
The next board of trustees meeting is scheduled for May 2.