Friday, September 11, 2009

A Year of Challenges...

The Board of Trustees met today to talk things over and to watch the latest promotional video out of The Old Main Propaganda Shop titled The 2009 State of the University Address. This year Graham decided not to prance around in the Nittany Lion get up and he focused on research, teaching and service, rather than his ability to borrow money to build buildings.

While the video is more subdued than last year's effort, it comes off as an extended version of one of those school promos you'll see run on any fall Saturday during the halftime of a college football broadcast. And after a brief nod to the fact that no one got raises and people had to work harder this year-"increased workloads, sacrificed salary increases,...." yada yada yada...- there really isn't any mention of how the Great Recession has impacted the state of the university.

It's happy talk in somber tones.

Speaking of somber tones and buildings, The Penn State Propaganda Portal tries to downplay Penn State's continued spending on buildings with a piece of bullshit headlined Capital plan to focus on facility renewal
Penn State's Board of Trustees Friday (Sept. 11) received an update on the University's capital plan, which will focus strongly on renewal of existing facilities. The updated plan will guide construction at University campuses for the next four years through 2013.
Renewal of existing facilities... it sounds so responsible in these tough times. Let's take a closer look at what's on deck.
  • A new classroom and laboratory at Penn State Berks 
  • Additions and renovations to the Henderson
  • Additions and renovations Moore Buildings at University Park
  • Replacing outdated research and teaching greenhouses
  • A replacement for Fenske Lab, a chemical engineering building.
  • A phased renovation of South Halls
  • At Penn State Hershey, plans continue to construct a new Children's Hospital
  • Construction of a new softball facility
That's eight projects in total the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh items on the list are all new construction. The second and third items on the list are, at least in part, new construction. That leaves only the renovation of South Halls as purely renewal of an existing facility. How much will this modest renewal cost? Let's try $820 million. A year of challenges ...indeed.

In two separate article, it was announced that Old Main would be spending $6.4 million on a new control tower at University Park Airport and that
Penn State Erie, The Behrend College, will purchase the facility that is home to its Early Learning Center in Knowledge Park on the southeastern edge of campus, as approved by the Penn State Board of Trustees today.
...The cost to purchase the 8,568-square-foot Early Learning Center facility, currently owned by GEIDC, is projected to be $225,000.
Ah yes, a year of really is challenging to keep up that level of spending while convincing people to work harder without raises.

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