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Board of Trustees: 83 of 119 Freeh Recommendations Implemented; Renovations Coming to Campus

by on March 14, 2013 1:48 PM

As of March, 12,569 Penn State employees have received live mandatory reporter training. That's just one of the 83 of 119 Freeh recommendations that have been implemented, according to David Gray, Penn State's Senior Vice President for Finance and Business. 

During the Committee on Finance, Business and Capital Planning meeting Thursday morning, members of the Penn State Board of Trustees were updated on the university's progress in increasing and ensuring safety on campus. Gray said about 70 percent of former FBI Director Louis Freeh's recommendations are now in place with more on track. 

Most notably, Gray said, was the hiring of Regis Becker, Penn State's new Director of University Compliance. Becker, a Penn State alumnus, starts on April 1 and will be formally introduced at the board meeting Friday.

Gray said in addition to the more than 12,000 employees live-trained in mandatory reporting, online training is now a requirement for all employees and 1,487 have already completed it. 

Committee members were briefed on past and future renovations at University Park in a presentation that will be given to the full board Friday in more detail. South Halls, which underwent renovation last year recently saw another $1.6 million worth of renovation work completed in Redifer Commons. 

East Halls could see some major changes in the coming years. The committee was told furniture bolted into the floor will soon be a thing of the past, replaced by decor that is more accommodating. That way students can move around and feel like they have more space. Many of the buildings have been housing students for upwards of six decades. 

Dorm rooms will also be equipped with amenities such as wireless Internet and air conditioning. 

Room and board rates could change next year, too, but only by 1.9 percent, the lowest in many years, according to the committee. 

The rate increase covers basic operating costs. The increase includes a proposed $505,000 spike in food costs. Also proposed is a 4.23 percent increase for double room and meal plan rates, the overall price for students increasing by $190 a semester. The proposed 2014-13 semester rate is $4,685. 

University administrators continue to push for more funding for the university in 2013-14. Gray said the level funding for Penn State proposed by Gov. Tom Corbett in his preliminary budget is better than his proposals in previous years. 

"The pressures on the Commonwealth general fund tend to be quite severe, but we’re nonetheless advocating for whatever we can [get]," Gray said. 

Committee meetings continue through 3:30 p.m. in The Hotel Hershey. 

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Laura Nichols is a StateCollege.com news reporter and @LC_Nichols on Twitter.
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