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MTU passes design and build agreement for new dorm

Photo provided by Michigan Technological University A rendering shows a new Michigan Technological University residence hall from above U.S. 41 looking east. Construction is expected to start later this year on the hall, which will be located east of the Rozsa Center. Plans were approved at a Thursday Board of Trustees meeting

HOUGHTON — The Michigan Technological University Board of Trustees approved a resolution authorizing administrators to negotiate and execute a design-and-build agreement on a new dorm to be constructed on the edge of campus.

RISE Development, LLC was tapped to build the new dorm, tentatively named East Hall, after interviews following the university’s request for proposals last October. The resolution states the cost of the project is not to exceed $62 million.

The university’s president and chief financial officer were authorized to negotiate and execute the agreement.

In a separate resolution, the board also approved the issuance of up to $72 million of general revenue bonds to finance the project. The new housing is tentatively scheduled to open in fall 2025.

“It’s been a heavy lift to date, and it’s going to be a heavy lift to bring it home, and bring a great asset to the university,” Board Chair Jeffrey Littman said. “The Board and the audit finance committee have held many special meetings during the process of developing this addition and looking at the financing. Our finance team has spent tons of hours modeling out the ability to prudently take on this bond exposure. Our facilities people have done great work in working with the design team to bring it to the current iteration that looks terrific.”

In the resolution, the university said the dorm is being built to help accommodate a growing student population. The past two classes have had 3,162 combined students enrolling in college for the first time, the highest such figure since 1984.

The new 516-person dorm will be on the east end of campus at the current site of Lot 9, by the Rozsa Center. The lot, now labeled Temporary Lot 10, can be used for students with Guaranteed Commuter permits until construction begins, according to the university.

A new lot for students with Standard Commuter permits is being built near Seventh Avenue and Garnet Street. The lot, estimated at 342 spaces, is expected to be built over the summer.

For Rozsa events, 425 spaces will be available during construction of the residence hall, according to the university: 90 in Lot 5, 103 in Lot 8, 60 in Lot 14, and 172 in Lot 10.

University parking audits determined about 450 spots are needed for high-traffic Rozsa events; current parking provides about 672.

President Rick Koubek and Littman also paid tribute to Bill Predebon, who died last month. He retired in 2022 after 47 years with the university, including 25 years as chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics.

In other action, the board:

• Approved revisions to the university’s parking policy. Fines had previously been $25 for all offenses. Those now rise to $50 for any violation after the fourth.

• Approved three new degree programs: an associate of science degree in engineering, a bachelor of science degree in data science, and a master of science degree in applied computer science. The first degree is in the College of Engineering, while the second two are in the College of Computing.

• Passed a resolution in appreciation of employees who have worked for Tech for 35 or more years: Nancy Byers Sprague, Director of Graduate Degree Services, 45 years; Thomas Merz, professor, College of Business, 43 years; Jennifer Slack, professor, Humanities, 35 years; and Bryan Suits, professor, physics, 38 years.

• Approved the emerita appointment for Susan Amato-Henderson, Department of Cognitive and Learning Sciences.

• Approved tenure appointments for Athar Atta’ (appointment as professor with tenure in the Department of Chemistry, within the College of Sciences and Arts) andHolly Hassel ( professor with tenure in the Department of Humanities).

• Appointed Nicholas Stevens as board treasurer.

• Approved a revision to contract signing policy for the president. The move to an annual written delegation model was made for increased risk mitigation and public transparency, the board said in the resolution.

Board approval is required for contracts of more than $1 million, except for contracts for the provision or receipt of academic research services and sales of real property with a fair market value of less than $5 million.

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