This time, the work will focus on making over BGSU's academic buildings -- something President Mary Ellen Mazey said is long overdue.
"Bowling Green State University, like many, many universities across the country, has a great deal of deferred maintenance," she said. "In order to be competitive -- especially with our academic programs, which are of the utmost importance to us -- we need to have state-of-the-art classrooms and lab facilities for our students and our future students. It's critical."
This fall, BGSU opened two new residence halls, two new dining centers, and a new sports complex and arena known as the Stroh Center. The $41 million Wolfe Center for the Arts -- a performance and academic building for theater, music, film, digital arts, design, sound, and dance -- is set to open in December.
"We continue to make aggressive strides with campus development," Steven Krakoff, associate vice president for capital planning and design, told trustees meeting on campus yesterday. "We consider it essentially a good start."
Mr. Krakoff outlined the next phase of BGSU's master plan, which focuses on the academic core. Chief among the projects would be a new home for the college of business administration and a complete renovation of what are known as the "traditions buildings" -- Hanna, Moseley, South, and University halls -- into "next-generation teaching and learning space."
What may have an even greater impact than new or renovated buildings, Mr. Krakoff said, is an estimated $15 million in site improvements and landscaping that would be done in this next phase of construction.
"While buildings are important, I think the memorable campuses that you can all think of that really create the impression of the kind of learning environment you want to see on the ground -- those memories tend to come from the space between the buildings, whether it's sidewalks or plazas, tree lines or civic structures," he said.
"That really creates a more well-rounded, collegiate feel to any university."
Among those projects would be a revival of the original gated entrance to campus along Thurstin Street, which was obliterated by construction of the Administration Building in 1963. Plans call for razing that structure to open up the view between campus and downtown.
Trustees had a number of questions, many of which focused on the estimated price tag of $180 million to $200 million to complete all the projects over the next five to seven years.
Sheri Stoll, chief financial officer and vice president for finance and administration, said the estimated $9.9 million required for planning, programming, and design would come from existing state capital dollars.
She said BGSU expects to receive $13 million to $15 million in state capital funds in the next two to four years and would hope to raise up to $50 million from private donors. The remainder would be borrowed.
"At the end of the day, it doesn't look to me like there's going to be any way to do this magnitude of work without relying on some amount of debt financing," she said.
Ms. Mazey said afterward that the investment will pay off in the increasingly competitive world of higher education. This year, BGSU reported a 1.1 percent decrease in undergraduate and graduate students at its main and Firelands campuses -- to 19,994 this fall from 20,222 last fall.
Some 85 percent of BGSU's students come from Ohio, where the state's settlement with major tobacco companies has helped pay for construction of new primary and secondary schools in recent years.
"Students are coming out of these new facilities to our universities where we have this deferred maintenance problem," she said. "That isn't healthy for any of us."
At her previous job as provost at Auburn University in Alabama, she said getting a state-of-the-art classroom building on line was a priority before she left.
"I was worried about the same thing there," Ms. Mazey said. "Some of the performance halls and classrooms in the public school systems were actually of higher quality than what we were seeing on our campuses. You've got to face reality. We've got to change the face of the institution."
Contact Jennifer Feehan at: email@example.com or 419-724-6129.