Construction on $25.2 million A-State Windgate Art Innovation Center set to begin – Talk Business & Politics

Construction on $25.2 million A-State Windgate Art Innovation Center set to begin - Talk Business & Politics

Construction on $25.2 million A-State Windgate Art Innovation Center set to begin Construction will begin on the $25.2 million Windgate Art and Innovation Center at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro following approval by the ASU System Board of Trustees on Thursday (March 14) at its regular quarterly meeting on the ASU-Newport campus. The new, 38,887-square-foot Windgate Center will house spaces to support learning and creative activities for the Department of Art + Design, as well as the College of Engineering and Computer Science. Funding includes $22 million in private support from the Windgate Foundation and $3.2 million in institutional reserves. Construction is projected to be finished sometime in 2027. System Interim President Robin Myers thanked U.S. Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., for helping to secure a $10 million federal appropriation to advance development of the A-State Center for Advanced Materials and Steel Manufacturing. A-State will use the funding to invest in high-tech equipment for a multimillion-dollar facility that will support Northeast Arkansas’ position as the largest steel producing region in the country. Henderson continues to make recovery progress and achieved compliance with the System Financial Reserves Policy with 62 days of cash on hand on June 30, 2023. Bates noted that Henderson has reduced annual personal services expenses by $14 million or 41% since 2019, when the institution had only seven days of cash on hand. “It’s quite an accomplishment,” Trustee Steve Eddington said regarding the Henderson financial progress. “I know the emphasis placed on this effort.” The board approved the naming of the Beck College of Sciences and Mathematics. Army Col. Buddy Beck and his wife, Charlotte, are A-State Distinguished Alumni and have supported many initiatives through the Beck Foundation, including establishment of the nationally recognized Beck Center for Veterans. The Becks, among the top five largest donors to the university, have established numerous endowed scholarships and professorships in chemistry and engineering. Most recently their foundation pledged to fully fund the Beck Scholars Endowment in the College of Sciences and Mathematics, an endowment to support undergraduate research through Create@State, an endowed dean’s position, and an endowed fellowship in chemistry, mathematics or physics to recruit and retain faculty. In other business, the board approved: • Henderson’s request to restore more traditional academic naming conventions based on input from faculty, staff, students and alumni. Chancellor Trey Berry, who took over leadership of the campus in January, said the move would aid in recruitment and marketing with no additional costs or positions. The four colleges will be Teachers College; College of Performing Arts and Social Sciences; College of Aviation, Science and Nursing; and College of Business. • Henderson to offer a new Bachelor of Science degree in education with a pre-kindergarten focus that will be the university’s first completely online undergraduate degree program. It is expected to help meet expected demand for early childhood credentials resulting from the LEARNS Act. • Offering an optional voluntary retirement program at A-State to achieve financial savings. About 280 employees are eligible under the plan, which includes those who are at least 60 years old with 10 years of continuous full-time employment service as of June 30, 2024. • Work on the next phase of HVAC upgrades at First National Bank Arena at A-State, which include just over $1 million for replacing, refurbishing and upgrading various air-handling units. • Henderson to explore the sale of two unused properties in Arkadelphia – Newberry Hall, an eight-story, 75,666-square-foot former residence hall, and Hickory House, a 6,787-square-foot downtown office building – for cost savings and future growth. Appraisals will be sought prior to sale options being explored, and the Board would have to approve any disposition recommendations. • ASU-Newport to accept a $221,800 grant from the Delta Regional Authority to support construction of a Nursing and Health Sciences Workforce Training Center. • Henderson to offer Associate of Arts degrees in general education and teaching, and Bachelor of Science degrees in secondary education-biology licensure track and natural sciences-biology track, which is more appealing for students pursuing pre-health science professional programs.