East Carolina University needs to spend more than $4 million to replace gym floors and air conditioning units at its 24-year-old student recreation center, a committee recommended.

Problems one HVAC unit contributed to poor humidity control that warped wooden athletic floors at the Eakin Student Recreation Center, Bill Bagnell, associate vice chancellor of Campus Operations, told the Finance and Facilities committee of the Board of Trustees Thursday.

Another unit cannot control humidity in the area of the center’s swimming pool, he said. It will cost $4.2 million to replace the units, the floors and make other repairs and any cover contingencies. The center opened in 1997.

Committee members voted to recommend approval of the work when the full Board of Trustees meets today.

The panel also recommended approval of a sublease agreement with Vidant Medical Group for space at Moye Medical Building.

In other business, Stephanie Coleman, vice chancellor of Administration and Finance, reported the university’s unrestricted fund balance saw $32 million in revenue in 2021.

However, there were also a number of losses across the budget which she said were due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Coleman said that ECU’s Student Affairs budget saw a loss of $13 million, primarily because the administration has held back Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds from housing and dining services.


“We are holding them centrally,” Coleman said. “That is why you do not see their reflected number showing in the student affairs line.”

Mandatory fees were expected to clear $58 million but only brought in $52 million, which Coleman attributes to classes going virtual.

Athletics was able to hold net losses to $4.2 million, she said.

“We had furloughs as well as salary reductions,” Coleman said. “We also were unable to recruit which means our travel was way down. ... We also had fewer competitions. Baseball would play all four games in one weekend versus having to go to the away and then their coming here so we had double expenses.”

Reduced gameday capacity also proved to be an issue, she said.

Ongoing projects

The committee was presented with updates on the following capital projects currently being overseen by the university:

  • ECU’s Life Science and Biotechnology Center, a $90 million project, is projected to be complete Oct. 18. Bagnell said there has been a delay of materials at the site, which could lead to that deadline being extended.
  • The renovation of the Mendenhall Student Center, a $6.7 million project, to be finished Jan. 28. Renovations include roof replacement, elevator upgrades, spaces for Pirate Media and Continuing Studies and fixing sewer issues.
  • The Isley Innovation Hub, a $3.568 million project to be completed early November. Bagnell said the contractor is making progress.
  • Main Campus Steam Plant Fuel Tank Farm’s $2.552 million construction is near completion and expected to be finished on Sept. 15.
  • Modernization of Clement and White residence halls, a $2.55 million project, was finished in July and will closeout next quarter.
  • Sub-contractor bids were taken Thursday for a Multi-Sports Strength Training Facility budgeted at $2.4 million. Construction has not begun. The project is expected to be completed by October 2022.
  • The Bate Building’s fire alarm system and smoke containment was initially finished in May. Bagnell said further repairs will have to be undertaken to fix code issues between mid-May and August 2022. The project has a budget of $2 million.
  • The $2 million replacement of the Main Campus and College Hill Drive Steam was finished in August.

Contact Pat Gruner at pgruner@reflector.com and 252-329-9566.