Illinois State University trustees on Friday approved nearly $18 million in spending on various projects and a 12.8% performance bonus for President Larry Dietz.
The bonus totals $48,000 out of a maximum $50,000. Dietz's base salary is $375,000.
Board of Trustees chair Julie Annette Jones said Dietz is hitting it out of the park in most metrics.
"He is doing a phenomenal job on some areas; his community engagement, the respect he garners on campus, fundraising is being blown out of the water. Not only is he being well respected on this campus, it's nationwide. It's even into other countries," said Jones.
Jones also quoted Dietz himself in saying "the largest room is room for improvement."
"Some of the things we do have some concerns about: the legislative plan. Illinois State University receives the lowest state appropriation per student. So we think we want to see some more movement in that area. We also are aware that we have had issues on this campus regarding diversity and inclusion," said Jones.
She said some developments are positive on the diversity and inclusion front, but more work needs to be done. Dietz on Monday named Doris Houston to a cabinet-level position at ISU coordinating diversity and inclusion efforts on campus. The board Friday also approved $5.5 million to build a Multicultural Center in renovated space on Main Street.
Here is a list of projects approved by the board.
- $4.1 million to resurface the Bone Student Center visitor parking lot, replace lighting, add a sustainable water retention feature, install a new parking ticketing system, and build pedestrian walkway and entry to the BSC. Staff said the work is critical because existing cracks are allowing water to seep below the surface and further deteriorate the pavement.
- $676,000 per year to lease office space on the first and second floors of College Place in Uptown Normal owned by MCP Uptown Partners LLC. That would cost the university $1.575 million over the next few years but would likely be extended for a decade with annual adjustments for inflation.
- $4.2 million to keep fresh air flowing into the 2,200-student Watterson Towers residence halls. ISU would replace the penthouse air handling and intake systems. Staff said the existing units have lasted longer than they were supposed to and are increasingly expensive to maintain.
- $1.6 million to replace aging furniture at Watterson Towers.
- $875,000 to pay a consulting firm to further develop a proposal for a new engineering degree program. ISU began studying the issue a couple years ago and President Larry Dietz has said there appears to be a market niche to address a shortage of engineers in the labor market.
- $5.5 million for a Multicultural Center. This has been a goal of Dietz. Dietz told WGLT Monday he hopes to begin construction in the fall in the old Center for Teaching and Learning Technology (CTLFT) space on Main Street in Normal. The center will have student organization office space, meeting spaces, performance and practice spaces, a kitchen, gathering rooms, and rooms for other purposes.
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