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ECU stadium project on schedule, AD tells trustees

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ECU Chancellor Cecil Staton presented his quarterly report to the Board of Trustees Friday as trustees (from left) Vern Davenport, Chairman Kieran Shanahan and Kel Normann listened.


By Michael Abramowitz
The Daily Reflector

Saturday, February 17, 2018

ECU’s major athletics project, the $55-million reconstruction of Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium is on schedule and within budget, athletics officials told the university’s trustees on Thursday at their quarterly meeting.

The project, scheduled for completion in 2019, involves an approximately 90,000-square foot renovation, including a new press box, loge seating, suites, a club level, Pirate Club, a ticket office, vertical circulation and associated support spaces. In addition, Scales Field House is being renovated to accommodate team locker rooms, offices, and academic spaces.

The first floor of Ward Sports Medicine also is being renovated to include the football locker room, lounge, meeting rooms, and athletics training, McLamb said.

As of this week, 33 of the project’s 36 construction packages have been opened and are on time, according to J.J. McLamb, senior associate athletic director. The press box tower and lights on the south side have been removed and the former office building has been taken down, McLamb said. The training area on the stadium’s first floor has been completely demolished and the new area will be ready by fall, he said. Steel erection will begin next month, with a temporary press box, field-level club box and game lights ready for the first game in September, McLamb said.

“Construction will not impact our operations or game management, and we will be able to host our home games,” he said. “There will be some work-arounds we’ll coordinate with our facilities and environmental health and safety team each week.”

Live construction activities and photos, updated monthly, can be viewed online at www.ecupirates.com, McLamb said. 

ECU athletics officials met with residents of the Elmhurst neighborhood two weeks ago, updating them on the project and the accompanying construction safety and traffic plans around Elmhurst Elementary School and the rest of the neighborhood, McLamb said. 

The four houses that the university purchased on Fieldside Drive will remain in place to serve as a barrier between the stadium and adjacent neighborhood, he said. Premium parking will be available for next fall, but not sold at the premium price, because it will have to be re-diagramed with the rest when completed in 2019. A new seating diagram will be made to coordinate with the remaining parking. Some loge box seats have been sold, as have about half the club level boxes, McLamb said. Founders boxes still are available for sale, he said.

In his report to the trustees, Chancellor Cecil Staton praised the UNC Coastal Studies Institute on Roanoke Island at the Outer Banks, where the trustees gathered this week for their scheduled quarterly meeting. ECU has assumed the lead support and development role for the institute among the state’s public universities. Staton applauded Provost Ron Mitchelson and his academic team for thinking critically about the role that the facility and its staff can play in the university’s future.

Staton told the board that contributions to the university’s $500-million comprehensive campaign have amounted to about $169 million as of Feb.1, a $14 million increase since the board’s last quarterly meeting.

“We’re constantly in the hunt, seeking Pirates and friends who believe in this institution and want to invest in it as we prepare for the future,” Staton said. 

Staton highlighted a $1 million donation by 1996 ECU graduate Matt Crisp to the Miller School of Entrepreneurship; a $1 million gift, given anonymously to establish an endowment for the North Carolina Literary Review, published at ECU; and another $1 million donation from the late Phoebe Moore Dail to the College of Education.

Staton hailed ECU’s recent advances in distance education.

“About 30 percent of online education in the UNC system is through ECU, and we know that’s an important part of the education landscape,” Staton said. “That’s important to our students because many of them work, and this makes it possible for them to study at ECU.”

Other academic achievements online noted by the chancellor included the criminal justice graduate program’s national ranking of 14 out of 67 programs, the highest ranking in North Carolina; The College of Education graduate program’s ranking of 18 out of 292 schools; and the College of Nursing graduate program’s ranking of 34 out of 154 schools, also the highest ranking for a North Carolina program of its kind.

“There are innovative things taking place every day across our campus that are being recognized nationally,” Staton said, adding that 2018 and and the times ahead have “the potential for enormous transformation in all we do at ECU.”

Committee leaders updated the board on developments in their respective areas, including:

■ Audit and Enterprise Risk Management Committee Chairman Kel Normann told the members that Tim Wiseman, ECU assistant vice chancellor for enterprise risk management has identified the university’s top 10 areas for risk this year and has been assisting Elizabeth City State University with its risk management assessments and advising the UNC system.

■ Finance and Facilities Committee Chairman Max Joyner said his committee recommended board approval of the sale of a property at 301 W. 10th St.. The board gave its unanimous approval for the sale. The committee also recommended acquisition of other properties to expand the millennial campus, later approved by the board. The board also unanimously approved the 2016-17 annual human resources compliance report and changes to human resources policy that will allow expansion of Staton’s human resources regulatory authority.

■ University Affairs Committee vice chairman Fielding Miller reported on some changes to Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) policy, one relating to limited use of likenesses of photos of students in the university lab school, and availability of micro-scholarships for low-income high school students with GPAs of 2.5 or higher.

The board also unanimously approved non-salary compensation for assistant coaches and staff discussed in closed session; appointment of Anisa Svankovich as dean of the College of Health and Human Performance with an annual salary $232,000; approval of non-salary compensation upgrades for faculty at the School of Dental Medicine, in recognition of clinical productivity and contract stipulations met. 

Contact Michael Abramowitz at mabramowitz@reflector.com or 252-329-9507.