Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Campus demolitions approved by board

The UA System Board of Trustees approved demolitions of four buildings and discussed a bill in the state legislature that would split the system last week in Huntsville.

Rep. John Rogers, D-Birmingham, introduced legislation Thursday that, if passed and signed into law, would trigger a statewide popular vote on a constitutional amendment to establish separate boards for both the University of Alabama in Huntsville and the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Robert Witt, at his first board meeting as system chancellor, said separating the institutions would be a bad idea.

“The strength of three campuses lies in the fact we leverage being part of a system, and we’d be strongly opposed to any such action,” he said.

UAH president Robert Altenkirch and UAB president Carol Garrison also spoke out against the proposal.

One of the bill’s co-sponsors, state Rep. Phil Williams, R-Monrovia, told The Huntsville Times he no longer supports the bill either and is perfectly happy with the board’s work to ensure the institutions can grow together as a system.

“I don’t support that bill,” Williams said. He said he agreed to co-sponsor the legislation in February before Witt was named chancellor.

UA interim president Judy Bonner was on hand for the meeting, where the board approved several construction projects on the UA campus. The search advisory committee that will work with Witt to identify his permanent replacement on the UA campus has not begun meeting, system spokeswoman Kellee Reinhart said.

The board approved the demolition of the Human Environmental Sciences Design House, the Phi Kappa Psi and Phi Delta Theta fraternity houses and the Office of Student Media building.

The HES building will be torn down to make way for an expansion to the Kappa Delta sorority house. The fraternity houses and the media building, which are located on University Boulevard in front of Bryant-Denny Stadium, will be replaced with lighting and green space.

The demolitions along University Boulevard will cost $195,061, but will offset deferred maintenance costs that are estimated at more than $730,000 for the Office of Student Media building alone.

The board also approved Stage II construction for a $6 million project to renovate ten Hoor Hall and Stage III construction for the second phase of the North Bluff Residential Community, which will cost $62.5 million dollars. The community is also being renamed “Presidential Village,” UA spokeswoman Cathy Andreen said.

The board accepted a $500,000 gift from “supporters and friends of the University” to establish the UA Acts of Kindness Endowed Scholarship. No details about how the scholarship will be rewarded.

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