Auburn moves forward with plans for new STEM+Ag building

With new policy in place, board removes Graves name from amphitheater, drive
Published: November 20, 2020
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Auburn University’s Board of Trustees took the next steps during its Nov. 20 meeting to create a new academic building focusing on science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, and agricultural sciences.

The meeting also included action on two renovation projects, two new degrees and a policy on removing names from university buildings and structures.

The board agreed to engage the design team of Goodwin Mills Cawood of Birmingham and Lord Aeck Sargent of Atlanta as the project architect for the new Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics and Agricultural Sciences, or STEM+Ag, Complex.

At its Sept. 4 meeting, the board initiated the project, which is meant to replace current STEM-related and agricultural science facilities and relocate the Department of Mathematics and Statistics from Parker Hall, the Department of Geology from Beard-Eaves-Memorial Coliseum and College of Agriculture departments from Funchess Hall.

Auburn President Jay Gogue told board members during its Nov. 19 workshop that the university will receive $36.4 million in state bond funding and $50 million under the state’s Public School and College Authority to support the project.

Plans to renovate approximately 4,000 square feet in Lowder Hall to construct two 50-seat financial laboratories and to renovate the Hood McPherson Building in Birmingham to provide academic and administrative space were also initiated. The architect selection process will now begin for both projects.

The resolution for a new policy on the removal of names from buildings or structures on university-owned property states that such names are “a reflection of Auburn’s enduring tradition and values,” as reflected in the Auburn Creed and Auburn’s mission “to improve the lives of the people of Alabama, the nation and the world through forward-thinking education, life-enhancing research, extension, scholarship and selfless service.”

The Trustee Task Force, which was formed this summer to evaluate the history and context of named buildings and structures on Auburn property, will be responsible for reviewing the names of buildings and structures. If they deem it necessary to remove a name, the matter will be presented to the full board.

With the policy in place, the board unanimously supported the removal of Gov. Bibb Graves’ name from the amphitheater and drive. The resolution states that keeping his name on campus would be “inconsistent with the university’s mission and the Auburn Creed and would chill, rather than encourage, broad use of facilities that are intended to be enjoyed as sites for engagement by the campus community.”

In other matters, the board decided to:

  • Continue to retain Garver LLC as the general consultant for the Auburn University Regional Airport. The Federal Aviation Administration and the state of Alabama Aeronautics Bureau require airports to engage a general consultant who will perform certain airport planning, engineering and administrative services.

  • Create a new Master of Science in supply chain management (non-thesis) in the Harbert College of Business. The Department of Supply Chain Management currently offers an undergraduate degree and a graduate certificate in supply chain management innovation and oversees the Center for Supply Chain Innovation, all of which have grown in size and stature in recent years. Following demand for the department’s graduate courses available through the certificate program, the department anticipates strong enrollment and increased visibility.

  • Create a new Master of Science in applied behavior analysis (non-thesis) in the College of Liberal Arts. The proposed degree will offer advanced coursework in scientific and evidence-based behavioral principles designed to improve individual and social conditions, particularly among children and adults with psychological disorders. It will prepare students to become licensed behavior analysts and work in various professional settings, including schools, workplaces, homes and clinics.

Provost Bill Hardgrave presented information to the board on the creation of new graduate certificates from the Harbert College of Business in supply chain planning and supply chain operations and renaming existing degree programs in the College of Human Sciences’ Department of Human Development and Family Science to align with the unit’s change in nomenclature.

For Auburn University at Montgomery, the board decided to:

  • Close the Bachelor of Science in business administration in international business, the Bachelor of Science in geographic information systems and the Master of Teaching Writing.

  • Create a Master of Science in speech-language pathology.

Auburn University is a nationally ranked land grant institution recognized for its commitment to world-class scholarship, interdisciplinary research with an elite, top-tier Carnegie R1 classification, life-changing outreach with Carnegie’s Community Engagement designation and an undergraduate education experience second to none. Auburn is home to more than 30,000 students, and its faculty and research partners collaborate to develop and deliver meaningful scholarship, science and technology-based advancements that meet pressing regional, national and global needs. Auburn’s commitment to active student engagement, professional success and public/private partnership drives a growing reputation for outreach and extension that delivers broad economic, health and societal impact.