The Shepherd University Board of Governors met June 6 at the Byrd Center for Legislative Studies on the Shepherd campus.
The board approved a new concentration in strategic communication as part of the bachelor's degree in communication and new media. The concentration, which will begin this fall, will focus on the use of social media and digital tools to benefit communication between organizations and their publics.
The board also approved Shepherd's capital funding priorities, updates to the Board of Governors bylaws and the facilities master plan.
The architectural firm Robert A. M. Stern worked with a committee headed by former Board of Governors chair John Sherwood to devise a 10-year facilities master plan. The plan, presented to the board at its April meeting and to the community during a public meeting, calls for developing a walkable campus that would include trails through campus with small eateries or relaxing areas dotting the walkways. King Street below High Street would be turned into a pedestrian mall complete with a welcome center that would mirror the town library.
The plan calls for smaller residence halls and a new campus quadrangle between the Frank Center and the Center for Contemporary Arts. Parking is addressed through the opening of parking near Princess Street when the facilities management building moves to west campus and with a parking garage scheduled toward the end of the 10-year plan, or earlier if funding becomes available. The facilities master plan calls for the demolition of Sara Cree Hall and the installation of a surface parking lot until the funding can be secured for the parking garage with an attached student center.
During the public comment portion at the beginning of the meeting, Shepherdstown Mayor Jim Auxer and Pam Berry of the Shepherdstown Business Association addressed the board and requested that the parking garage be moved to the beginning of the plan to open parking for customers of downtown businesses. The mayor suggested that the town partner with the university to seek ways to fund the garage.
During the board's discussion prior to voting to approve the master plan, board chair Gat Caperton reiterated that the plan is aspirational but contains great flexibility so that as funding becomes available, projects can be slotted earlier in the plan's timeline. Caperton stated that the overall impact of the plan was viewed as positive and a real enhancement to Shepherd's public liberal arts mission, stating that the university is aiming to be "better, not bigger."
The complete plan can be viewed at www.shepherd.edu by clicking the link "10-Year Facilities Master Plan" under the Announcements section on the homepage.
Board officers were elected for the new year, which begins July 1. Reelected were Gat Caperton, chair; Mark Rudolph, vice chair; and Dr. Marcia Brand, secretary.
The board recognized outgoing members Veronique N. Walker and student representative Elizabeth Greer for their service to the board.
The next board meeting is scheduled for September 26 at 3:30 p.m.; the location of the meeting will be announced in the weeks prior to the meeting.
Visit the Shepherd Board of Governors site at www.shepherd.edu/bogweb/ for additional information.