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East Hall renovation on MU board agenda

Feb. 23, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

HUNTINGTON -- The next step in the process of welcoming a new group of international students in August will be up for a vote Monday at the Marshall University Board of Governors meeting.

Board members will vote on whether to award a bid to Mascaro Construction to renovate East Hall, the former community college home, to become the center for INTO University Partners' pathways program.

Mascaro's bid of $2.179 million, the lowest base bid out of 10 received.

The pathways program is for incoming students recruited through INTO and offers English language classes and study prep skills. Once they finish the program, they officially become Marshall students.

The cost will come from the university's general revenue funds and be repaid through a lease agreement with INTO in about nine years. INTO profits from the pathways program, which students pay, is about $17,000 a year.

Between 150 and 200 students are expected to be in the first class, which will arrive for the fall semester.

The other major point of discussion will likely be President Stephen Kopp's address to board members. He is expected to provide an update on the 2013 West Virginia legislative session and the top issues that affect Marshall. At the top of the list is the proposed budget cut of more than $5 million, plus an additional $1.3 million for the medical school.

The cuts were part of Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's order to several agencies to cut 7.5 percent out of the 2013-2014 budgets.

There also is a higher education bill that is expected to be introduced in the next few weeks that would require state institutions to meet certain benchmarks in order to receive state money. Sen. Bob Plymale, D-Wayne, has said institutions will still receive appropriations, but some of the money could be set aside to be earned.

The Finance Audit and Facilities Planning Committee meeting will be held at 9:30 a.m. in the John Spotts Room, while the Academic and Student Affairs Committee will meet at 9:30 a.m. in room 2W37, both in the Memorial Student Center. The main meeting starts at 11 a.m. or immediately following in the Shawkey Dining Room.