New 30-acre recreational complex coming to Auburn fall 2019

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The university Board of Trustees took the last steps at its meeting on June 8 to execute a project expanding recreational facilities on campus by building a 30-acre complex on the open land behind the fraternity houses on the west side of Lem Morrison Drive.

The complex will include three multipurpose fields, two softball fields, sand volleyball courts, a new 5,300-square-foot fieldhouse and a new 2,000-square-foot maintenance building. It will feature sports turf for the recreation fields, LED field lighting, a 100-space paved parking lot with lighting, a paved one mile walking/running trail and new landscaping.

Campus Recreation is funding the $17 million project. Construction will start this fall and be finished by the 2019-20 academic year.

The board had decided at previous meetings to acquire 177 acres adjacent to campus for the recreation field addition and to provide expanded field labs for the College of Agriculture and College of Veterinary Medicine. The board also had decided to use the architectural firm of Barge Design Solutions of Atlanta.

Currently field labs for beef, horse, swine and turf grass are located on both sides of Shug Jordan Parkway between Wire Road and South College Street. With the new land purchase, field labs can be expanded and moved along West Longleaf Drive.

The existing intramural field along Biggio Drive was built in 1979 when approximately 18,000 students attended Auburn. With Auburn’s student population exceeding 28,000, additional outdoor recreational venues are necessary.

In other matters, the board decided to initiate the following new degrees:

  • Bachelor of Science in Wildlife Enterprise Management in the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences. It is aimed at students interested in managing wildlife or outdoor enterprises and includes a minor in business through the Harbert College of Business.

  • Bachelor of Science in Biological and Agricultural Technology Management in the College of Agriculture. It is for students interested in advancing new technologies related to food production. 

  • Bachelor of Science in Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies in the College of Human Sciences. The minor has been in high demand since its inception in 2011. The new degree is aimed at students interested in careers in fundraising and nonprofit administration. 

  • Master of Science in Teaching English for Specific Purposes (non-certification) and concurrent creation of a distance education version of the program in the College of Education. This is for domestic and international students who desire to teach English to speakers of other languages. It will be offered on campus and through distance education.

The board also:

  • Decided to renovate suites in Jordan-Hare Stadium and hire Stacy Norman Architects of Auburn as project architect. The project calls for renovating the third and fourth level east suites with new operable windows and fans, with upgrades to the finishes and standard HVAC systems. Funding will be provided by gifts and Athletics funds. 

  • Decided to adjust curriculum options in the Harbert College of Business to offer Entrepreneurship and Family Business, Human Resource Management and International Business as concentrations within the Management major. Such courses will be open to all students, regardless of major. 

  • Elected Mike DeMaioribus as president pro tempore and Wayne Smith as vice president pro tempore. 

  • Decided to increase tuition by 2 percent for undergraduate and graduate students at Auburn and a 3 percent increase for undergraduate and graduate students at Auburn University Montgomery, effective fall 2019. Trustees also adopted a 2 percent increase to the housing rate at Auburn, effective fall 2019.

  • Recognized Grant Davis, Don Large and John Mason, who were attending their last board meeting, for their service to the university. Davis, secretary to the Board of Trustees, and Large, executive vice president, are both retiring, while Mason, vice president for research and economic development, has been named chancellor at Penn State Harrisburg. Emeritus status is generally reserved for faculty members, however Large was named executive vice president emeritus and Davis was named secretary emeritus.

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.