Indiana State University Newsroom

Fine Arts renovation project to move forward

October 19, 2017

Indiana State University's latest renovation project will improve the functionality of a 1940s-era building while maintaining its historic charm.

The ISU Board of Trustees voted unanimously to authorize proceeding with a state-funded $15 million academic-facility renovation of the Fine Arts and Commerce Building.

The project will replace critical mechanical and electrical systems that have become obsolete and thereby improve temperature control, enhance air quality and access to technology. Interior spaces will also be reconfigured to improve building egress and accessibility and enhance instructional capabilities.

"We will be renovating the classrooms and laboratory facilities in this building, which will enhance student learning and outcomes as part of the university's strategic plan," said Diann McKee, senior vice president for finance and administration and treasurer at Indiana State. "The environment in which faculty teach and in which students learn is very important to academic success."

Once the final state approvals are in place, construction is expected start in mid-May 2018, after the spring semester is complete and faculty and staff can be relocated to the Nursing Building. The faculty and staff previously housed in the Nursing Building will move this winter into the new Health and Human Services facility.

Arc Design, who was hired for the Normal Hall renovation, will provide architectural and engineering services.

The board also authorized moving forward with the renovation and expansion of the Sycamore Towers Dining facility, which is the final project in the four-tower complex overhaul. Mills, Blumberg and Cromwell halls have been renovated and reopened to students, and Rhoads Hall is slated to be ready for occupancy in August 2018.

"This dining facility renovation will be the capstone of the project," said McKee. "Taking a complex of 1960s buildings and transforming them into a modern learning and living environment has been tremendous. Where you live makes a big difference in how you learn, and we've tried to provide the best quality living space for our students."

The Sycamore Towers Dining facility is one of two on campus, with the other being located in the Lincoln Quadrangle.

"While the dining facilities have had minimal upgrades over the years, there has not been a complete renovation for some time," McKee said.

Approximately 35,000 square feet will be renovated to advance existing dining and food service operations, improve the thermal envelope of the facades, replace roof and insulation, provide new restroom facilities and universal accessibility to the existing floor levels. Additionally, the facility will be expanded to the west by 5,000 square feet to make room for a record-breaking number of Sycamores.

The project's cost is not to exceed $16.8 million. Funding for the project will consist a $5 million cash contribution from Sodexo, with the remainder being funded through cash reserves and borrowing.

In other business:

• The board approved a 2.8 percent rate increase in the university's health plan coverage, effective Jan. 1, 2018. While there are no plan design changes for the current plan, the university will additionally offer the option of a High Deductible Health Plan in 2018.

The high-deductible plan has a $2,000 individual deductible and a $6,000 family deductible for in-network services, with the employee paying 20 percent on most services after the deductible is met. The plan would continue to cover 100 percent for preventive and well-baby care services.

Each employee who participates in the high-deductible plan must open a Health Savings Account, which the university will annually contribute $500 for the employee-only plan and $1,000 for a family plan.

The 2018 rates for both plans were reviewed and endorsed by the university's Health Benefits Advisory Committee.

• The board approved a modification to Policy 246.14.5, University Level Grievance Hearings and Policy 665, Indiana State University Naming Policy.

• The board approved naming a second-floor conference room in the new Health and Human Services building the Dr. Richard D. Spear Seminar/Conference Room in recognition of a generous gift by his widow, Beverly Spear.

Spear taught health and safety at Indiana State, 1966-1993. Throughout his life, he was always willing to lend time, knowledge and effort to advance the goals and objectives of public health and safety in the state of Indiana.

• The board approved naming the new indoor track and ISU Athletics Annex as the John McNichols Training Track.

McNichols, the dean of Sycamore coaches, was the longest-tenured coach in Indiana State history, serving at the helm of the track and field and cross-country programs from 1983 to 2016.

In the 34 years as the men's head coach and 28 seasons as the director of the combined program, McNichols turned Indiana State into a track and cross-country powerhouse. He coached in 100 total Missouri Valley Conference Championships (33 indoor, 33 outdoor, 34 cross-country), taking home 38 total team titles - 11 cross-country titles (nine men, two women), 10 indoor track titles (six women, four men) and 17 outdoor track titles (10 men, seven women).

The next meeting of the ISU Board of Trustees is set for Dec. 15.


Photos: -- The Fine Arts and Commerce Building is set for a $15 million state-funded renovation. -- The interior of the Fine Arts and Commerce Building is seen.

Media contact: Libby Roerig, director of communications and media relations, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3790 or