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Facilities, academics top Board of Regents’ meeting

The University of Alaska Board of Regents will consider two new
construction projects in Anchorage and Soldotna, two new academic
degree offerings and an overall academic master plan when it gathers
Feb. 17-18, next Thursday and Friday, in Anchorage.

The meeting will start at 9 a.m. Feb. 17 in Room 107 of the Lee
Gorsuch Commons at the University of Alaska Anchorage campus. Public
testimony is scheduled for 10 a.m. Thursday and 9 a.m. Friday.

Up for the board's consideration is amended formal project approval
for the UAA Seawolf Sports Arena, which would allow the UA
administration to proceed with developing the facility recently
approved by voters in the November General Obligation bond.

The only current athletic facility at UAA is the Wells Fargo Sports
Complex, which opened in 1978 to serve what was then a community
college. At that time, there was no student housing at UAA. Today, the
UA System's largest campus has 15,000 commuter students, 1,000
residential students, 300 students in health, physical education and
recreation academic programs, 11 Division I and Division II athletic
teams, almost 170 student-athletes, seven head coaches and various
other athletics personnel. Building the new arena would free up space
in Wells Fargo, which would become the primary recreational, wellness
and physical education facility for students, staff and community
members.  Additionally, UAA would upgrade and renovate the current
hockey team practice site in Wells Fargo.

Also on the agenda is formal project approval for a Career and
Technical Education Center at Kenai Peninsula College in Soldotna, not
to exceed $14.5 million. This workforce training center, approved by
voters as part of the November GO bond, would build a
15,000-square-foot building that would house laboratories, a
multi-function lab/shop with a high-bay door, classrooms, offices and
a student commons.

The new facility will house KPC's growing workforce development
programs in process technology, industrial process instrumentation,
computer electronics and occupational safety and health. The new space
will enable these high-demand programs to better utilize existing and
new equipment that meet industry standards in less crowded conditions.
It will also free approximately 5,086 square feet in the main campus
building that will be used for other growing KPC programs including
nursing, para-medicine and art.

The agenda is packed with other items as well.

UAA's Institute of Social and Economic Research will celebrate ISER's
50th anniversary and highlight some of the current and recent research
projects important to Alaskans and the state during a lunchtime
presentation Thursday, Feb. 17.

Several new degree programs will be up for consideration, including an
Associate in Applied Science in outdoor leadership at Prince William
Sound Community College and a Bachelor of Arts degree in film at the
University of Alaska Fairbanks.  Regents also will consider approval
of the UA System's Academic Master Plan---a collaborative effort led
by UA faculty across the system.

A report on the university's engineering initiative to double the
number of engineers graduated and improve facilities at both UAF and
UAA is expected to draw interest from the private sector. UA is on
target to double engineering graduates, but facilities are crowded and
need improvement. The engineering plan provides guidance in how UA
should address these issues.

Also on the agenda is a revision to UA's non-discrimination policy to
include "sexual orientation."  Students, staff and faculty have
requested the change for years. About 400 public colleges and
universities across the nation have adopted similar language.

This will be the first regular meeting for new regents Jo Heckman and
Mike Powers.

For the complete agenda, go to www.alaska.edu/bor/ and click on "agendas."

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