Trustees o.k. concept for new 'Recplex'

By Douglas Whiting
Director of Public Affairs

Members of the Board of Trustees Friday unanimously approved conceptual designs for a new sports center that will replace the Flynn Recreation Complex later in the decade.

The board also elected five new members and heard reports of new financial milestones during the annual meeting in Burns Library.

According to Executive Vice President Frank B. Campanella, the University hopes to begin construction on a facility to replace the aging Flynn Complex in the spring of 1997. The project, which would be completed in 1999 and would be located adjacent to the north end of Alumni Stadium, still requires additional development and further approvals by trustees and city and state agencies.

However, architects from Architectural Resources Cambridge, Inc., the firm that designed the expansion of Alumni Stadium and the Commonwealth Avenue parking garage, presented board members with preliminary ideas on a state-of-the-art building to serve the health and recreational needs of the University community into the next century.

Envisioned is a five-story structure, with access to both Alumni Stadium and Conte Forum, that includes a 50-meter swimming and diving pool, jogging and regulation tracks, a gymnasium, fitness and aerobic areas, tennis, squash and racquetball courts, locker rooms, and conference and office space.

Because the facility is planned as multi-level, architects said it can provide more space than the existing recreation complex and utilize a considerably smaller "footprint" on the lower campus, helping to open up several acres of green space when the existing complex is torn down.

In other action, board Vice Chairman Richard Syron, who also chairs the board's Finance and Audit Committee, reported on the University's 23rd consecutive balanced budget in the fiscal year just passed, while Financial Vice President and Treasurer Peter C. McKenzie told members that for the first time in its history, the University's total assets exceed $1 billion. McKenzie also said that as of May 31, 1995, Boston College's endowment had surpassed the $500 million mark, posting an 11.4 percent increase over 1994 figures.

During his report to the board, President J. Donald Monan, SJ, said the search for his successor had resumed. He said that given the "thorough job of screening the field" of Jesuit candidates by the Trustee Search Committee and the Advisory Committee a year and a half ago, he expected a decision on a new president could be reached before the end of 1995. Trustee and Search Committee Chairman Geoffrey T. Boisi concurred, saying the University had conducted a "vigorous analysis of Jesuit leadership in the United States," and that such an analysis allowed the search to resume with the expectation that a new Jesuit president would be able to take office in September 1996.

Fr. Monan told board members that representatives of the Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Community had written him asking for reconsideration of his decision last summer to deny formal registration to the organization. He said his position on the matter had not changed and reiterated that he continued to hope that individuals understood the reasons for denial "in the context of Boston College remaining a welcoming and supportive environment for all students."

He also said members of the senior administration continue to meet with representatives of FIST and DIVERSE on issues initially raised last spring and summer.

In committee reports:

--Academic Affairs Committee Chairwoman Susan Gianinno reported on discussions of the University Academic Planning Council and Project Agora, and commented on recent, independent rankings which saw Boston College's undergraduate programs among the nation's top 40, the undergraduate program in management also in the top 40, and the University ranked 16th in terms of its commitment to undergraduate teaching.

--Academic Vice President William B. Neenan, SJ, also applauded the undergraduate rankings, and said a National Research Council ranking of doctoral programs in the humanities was "reasonably good news" for Boston College. Those rankings placed the University near the middle percentile in several disciplines. "The results can be improved upon," he said, "but given that Boston College is not a major research university, this is good news.".

--Construction of the new Law Library remains ahead of schedule and on budget, according to outgoing Buildings and Properties Committee Chairman Thomas Flatley. Exterior work on the building is complete, he said, and landscaping and interior work proceeds. Flatley said the building will be ready for occupancy in January.

Calling the combined student center and humanities building project at the Main Campus' southwest corner "one of the most exciting building projects in our history," Flatley said planning continues for a spring 1996 groundbreaking. He said that because ledge was not discovered on the site, deeper excavation will be possible at minimal cost, allowing the construction of some 40,000 square feet of additional space below ground. That space is envisioned to house both a parking garage and facilities for the University's computer operations.

--According to Robert Murray, chairman of the Trustee Committee on Development, Friday evening's Pops on the Heights concert raised $1 million, bringing to $2.7 million the three-year total raised through the concert for undergraduate scholarships.

Murray said that following last year's successful completion of a three-and-a-half year effort to raise $80 million, the University will look to raise $50 million in the coming two years to support scholarship endowments and the construction of the sports center.

--Representatives of the Undergraduate Government of Boston College told members of the Student Life Committee of several initiatives, including the Freshman Kickoff, the St. Mary's Dinner Series, and a mentoring-leadership program that drew more than 300 applications from freshmen.

The student government representatives also told board members of several sponsored activities related to UGBC's support for the recognition of the LGBC.

Student Life Committee members also reviewed design plans for the Southwest Corner Student Center project.

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