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Rutgers Board of Governors approves academic building renovations

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Students hoping for air conditioning at Hickman Hall on Douglass campus or more easily accessible services within a central location will soon get their wish.

Eight renovation proposals were unanimously approved by the Rutgers Board of Governors to restore and upgrade buildings on all three University campuses during a meeting on Jan. 14. The proposals are part of the University Physical Master Plan, which outlines infrastructure goals over the next 15 years.

Total costs will exceed $98 million, with $35 million going to the Administrative Services Building I (ASB) located on Busch campus. After the renovations are complete, the building will host housing, dining, parking and financial services.

There will also be a registrar’s office, along with scheduling and admissions offices.

The changes include “significant interior renovation and required infrastructure upgrades,” according to the project summary. New features will include a connection to the “Busch transportation hub,” while the current annexes will be removed.

A new entrance that follows the regulations of the Americans with Disabilities Act will also be constructed, according to the proposed resolution.

The ASB makes up the largest expense, with no other facility upgrade planned to be as extensive.

Other buildings to undergo renovation include Hickman Hall on Douglass campus, multiple floors at two Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences buildings, two buildings at Rutgers—Newark and three buildings at Rutgers—Camden.

The Rutgers—Camden buildings include the Artis Building, which is composed of two parts on Cooper Street in the southern part of New Jersey. It was originally built in 1850, said Antonio Calcado, senior vice president for Institutional Planning and Operations.

The other Camden building will be the recently announced Writer’s House addition.

Though the addition has been planned for many years, the University did not have the funds to actually renovate it, Calcado said.

Combined, the two buildings will cost $10.5 million to upgrade, according to the proposed resolutions.

In Newark, the John Cotton Dana Library and Olson Hall will both receive significant upgrades, though neither facility will exceed $11 million each.

The University will apply for grants through the Higher Education Capital Improvement Fund program run by New Jersey to pay for all of the renovations, according to the resolutions.

Budgets for each of the renovations were created based on how much state institutions were granted in previous years, Calcado said. The money is not guaranteed.

Different options exist if Rutgers is unable to secure the full amount, he said. Depending on the amount needed, the University could make up the shortfall itself, paying from existing funds.

“If the project does not get full funding, we would have to re-look at the project (and) the amount it gets, (and) see if we could do it for the money that is funded,” he said. “That’s one option.”

For a larger deficit, the school would take out a loan or see if the renovations can be completed with a smaller budget, he said.

“(Funding) could (also) be from reserves that the University may have (or) it could be from the operating budget,” he said.

No matter which option the school went with, the Committee of Finance and Facilities, which proposed the renovations, would have to gain fresh approval from the board, he said. 

“We cannot act unilaterally,” he said.


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