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Board of Trustees approves digital textbook extension, property sale

President Drake delivers his opening statement at the Board of Trustees meeting at the Longaberger Alumni House on Nov. 16. Credit: Casey Cascaldo | Photo Editor

The Ohio State Board of Trustees full board met Friday morning and unanimously approved several proposals, including to expand the use of its digital textbook pilot program and purchase property for WOSU to move.

In addition, University President Michael Drake delivered his President’s Report, during which he said Ohio State had a 94.5 percent first-year retention rate, which was an Ohio State record. He also said it was a record fundraising year, with more than 270,000 supporters having donated money to the university.

Board Chair Michael J. Gasser also announced the approval of a scholarship for active members of Ohio State’s marching band, called the Timothy P. and Jennifer C. TBDBITL Scholarship. Recipients will be recommended by the director of the marching band and approved by the director of the school of music, Gasser said.

“We were band parents,” Timothy Smucker, Board Vice Chair, said. “So  we spent a lot of time in band meetings, band trips and buses. We understand the dedication that that has to the university, so thank you.”

Digital Textbook Extension

The full Board approved a proposal to extend its digital textbook pilot, called CarmenBooks, which uses digital textbooks in several classes to cut down on costs for students.

The pilot program, which has been tested on nine social work classes in the Spring 2019 semester, will be extended through the Summer 2019 and Fall 2019 semesters. Students still paid a fee to receive access to the course materials, but the program reduced costs by an estimated 80 percent, according to Board documents. Students receive the materials on the first day of their respective classes through a program called Unizin’s Engage eReader.

The documents said that students will save more than $99,000 on textbook costs in the summer courses, and the program will save students more than $767,000 in the fall.

Long-Term Lease and Purchase

WOSU will receive a new building in a few years, moving into a 52,000 sq. ft., four-story building on 14th Avenue and Pearl Street, after the Board approved a plan to lease the space to build the new building.

Campus Partners currently owns the site of the new building through Redstone Realty, and Ohio State will enter into a 30-year lease with Redstone for the property. Redstone will pay for the construction of the building, but will later be reimbursed by Ohio State. According to Board documents, the payment to Redstone will “at no point” exceed $29 million.

WOSU currently has raised $17 million to pay for the building. As a triple-net lease, all operating costs and additional lease costs will be paid for by WOSU.

Wexner Construction Contracts

The Board approved additional funds to go toward the Wexner Medical Center Inpatient Hospital Central Sterile Supply and the Wexner Medical Center Inpatient Hospital Garage infrastructure and road work, as well as entering into a contract for construction of a new project called the Energy Advancement & Innovation Center.

The sterile supply will need $45.7 million — $11.8 million in professional services and $33.9 million in construction. The garage’s infrastructure and road work will require $74 million, with $19.7 going to professional services and $54.3 in construction. Auxiliary funds will cover the costs. Board documents said the full cost had not been decided when the original plans were approved.

The innovation center will cost $35 million total with $3 million going to professional services.

Basketball Ticket Prices

Tickets for Ohio State men’s basketball will have a different pricing model going into the 2019-20 season, after the Board approved a pricing change.

In its annual revision of the ticket prices, the athletic department requested tickets have variable pricing options based on opponent, with costs differing on whether the match is an exhibition game, non-conference, conference, premier opponent, season ticket for the public or season ticket for faculty and staff.

The ticket prices will also be impacted by the seating, with different zones offering different prices. Board documents said lower bowl tickets will slightly increase from past years while upper bowl tickets will either be reduced or remain the same.

Student tickets will remain $9 per game.

Economic Development Agreement

A proposal to purchase nearly 34 acres of property around U.S. Route 33 and Shier Rings Road in Dublin, Ohio was approved by the Board.

The land is “strategically important in supporting the objectives of the Wexner Medical Center ambulatory care strategy,” Board documents said. The land will be used for an additional ambulatory care facility in Dublin.

There is an agreement in place where under “certain limited circumstances,” Dublin can buy the property back from Ohio State for the same purchase price.

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