By Ana Ruiz Brictson | Staff Writer
Baylor’s Board of Regents had its retreat meeting on Friday, making decisions regarding project costs, recognition of faculty contributions and students joining the board.
According to a Baylor press release, the Board of Regents voted to increase the total cost of the Paul and Alejandra Foster Pavilion from $185 million to $212.6 million. One of the main reasons the board decided this was the increase in costs of labor and materials.
President Linda Livingstone said because of the expensive buildings being constructed in other Texas cities, the costs of labor and materials have risen by a lot.
“Labor is an issue,” Livingstone said. “It’s really tight in Waco to get labor, particularly for a project that large.”
Chairman Mark Rountree said another highlight from the meeting was the approval of formally expressing gratitude for Baylor faculty for their efforts in achieving R1 status.
“We wanted to say that thank you publicly,” Rountree said. “We wanted to reward and acknowledge that extraordinary work. And we hope that we can partner with Dr. Livingstone and her team and all of our faculty to provide support in ways in which that great work can continue.”
Rountree also said the Board of Regents approved two student regents who will be on the board as of June 1.
One of the approved regents is Tyler junior Ally Perkins, a returning student regent who is completing her one year as a non-voting student regent. Starting in June, she will be allowed to vote in the meetings.
The other approved regent is Johnson City, Tenn., graduate student J.D McDonald, who will be a non-voting student regent beginning in June.
Part of the continuity from reaching R1 status is to focus on improving the quality of the academic experience for Baylor students. To do so, one of the main focuses is to hire the best faculty, while another is to improve facilities.
Livingstone said part of the campus experience that matters a lot to students is the residence halls. She said one of their goals is to remodel the residence halls, and while this is being done, they plan to keep Cityside open as an option for students.
“We will continue to accommodate 100% of our incoming freshmen students in our residence halls on campus,” Livingstone said, “And then we will kind of manage that space with the use of Cityside and then some decisions about how many upper-class students will remain on campus versus some other options we can provide for them.”
Livingstone said the first residence hall to be remodeled will be Collins Hall, which is starting renovations in May.
Additionally, the Board of Regents approved the increase in capital for projects that require the board’s approval from $1 million to $5 million. It also received the annual endowment, adding $620 million to the $2 billion endowment balance.