Redefining the Classroom

LSSU Trustees move forward on South Hall project, presidential search

Posted: February 3rd, 2013

SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. – Lake Superior State University’s Board of Trustees moved ahead on its school of business capital project, reported progress on its presidential search committee, and approved six new public school academies during a recent meeting on campus.

The board also approved sabbatical leave for Profs. Kathy Berchem, Nursing; Jason Swedene, Humanities; and Brian Zinser, Business; and heard reports on enrollment, campus life, and finance.

The university’s South Hall Opportunity project seeks to raise $3 million, which is the university’s match to the $12 million, state-supported project that will renovate a former Fort Brady building for the LSSU School of Business. The two-phase project will renovate the existing 32,000 sq. ft. building while retaining the flavor of the original Fort Brady brick exterior. Original portions of the former fort barracks date to the early 1900s. The renovation will include infrastructure upgrades as well as classroom and office renovations.

The second project component is an addition of approximately 12,000 sq. ft. to connect the original two wings of the building to form an atrium that creates an interactive commons with expanded student interaction areas, new program rooms, and support space.

NEW BUSINESS BUILDING - An architect's rendering shows how South Hall's new main entrance will look.
Construction is set to begin in spring 2014.

A high-resolution version of this rendering is here.

“We have great progress toward the $3 million needed for the university’s match to the South Hall project,” said LSSU Foundation Executive Director Tom Coates. “We’re not done – many leadership proposals are still out there and we’re going to a more public phase of the campaign that is more broad-based. We’re reaching out to our business alumni and others.”

Coates noted that community donors have been very generous and supportive of the project, as have several LSSU business program alumni. The largest gift on the project so far has been $150,000.

LSSU business program graduate Chuck Schmidt, a former LSSU Board of Trustees member, is chair of the fundraising committee for the project. In his presentation at the meeting, he thanked trustees and LSSU administration for their support of the project.

“Prospective donors to a project like this want to see 100 percent commitment from an organization when they consider donating,” Schmidt said. “We’re happy to say that we have that with the board and administration.”

Following the South Hall report, in which Coates noted that the Foundation has had one of its best fund-raising years, the board moved to certify to the state legislature that it intends to proceed with the project as scheduled. Construction is scheduled to begin in spring 2014.

Coates and trustees also paid tribute to former LSSU Foundation board member Betsy Demaray, a recipient of the LSSU Outstanding Alumna Award. Demaray, an active Sault Ste. Marie community booster, died Jan. 25 following a lengthy illness.

During the board’s Personnel Committee report, trustee Patrick Egan presented a report on the board's presidential search, saying that a committee had been formed and will be moving forward with a professional executive search firm to find a replacement for President Tony McLain, who is retiring. McLain's contract runs until the end of December 2013, with an option to extend through June 2014.

Egan said he and trustees Ann Parker and Rod Nelson worked with LSSU Human Resources Director Marta Warren to pull together a 12-person committee of campus and community members. The committee’s membership will be finalized in the coming weeks.

“We have a target of this autumn for bringing a final candidate recommendation to the board,” Egan said. “In the meantime, we will be doing a survey with campus constituents to identify the skill sets that our candidates need – a good description of the type of person we’re looking for.”

Egan said the search progress will be posted on a university website, as it has been in the past, including information on prospective candidates once the list gets down to four or five individuals.

Board chair Jenny Kronk thanked the three trustees for their initial work and then appointed trustee Scot Lindemann to replace Nelson on the search committee, as Nelson is unable to continue serving.

The number of LSSU public school academies or charter schools has grown significantly, with trustees approving six more schools during this meeting. Nick Oshelski, director of public school academies, said LSSU projects to have 22 academies this fall serving more than 8,000 students. LSSU chartered schools range from as far south as the suburbs of Detroit and Grand Rapids to its first in the Upper Peninsula – DeTour Arts and Technology Academy.

The schools approved during the board meeting include:

Explorer’s Academy of Science and Technology, Detroit, a K-12 college preparatory academy that focuses on the sciences, technology, engineering, the arts, and mathematics;

Michigan Health and Wellness Academy, Ingham County, a K-8 Montessori school that merges academics with health and well-being;

Sarah J. Webber Media Arts Academy, Highland Park, a K-12 academy with a focus on communication through media, including radio broadcasting, video production, television and film;

Momentum Academy, Hazel Park, a pre-K through grade 12 academy focusing on college readiness, based on the successful “Teach Like a Champion” model of Doug Lemov, New York City;

Widening Advancements for Youth Academy, Flint, a branch of an existing academy in Detroit that focuses on a project-based, blended learning community that engages students through personalized learning and inquiry-based, student centric projects in grades 7-12. Another WAY Academy is expected to open next year in Lansing.

LSSU’s first U.P. charter school, the DeTour Arts and Technology Academy, is a public school academy offering grades K-8 originally authorized by the DeTour School District school board. With its LSSU affiliation, the school will be able to become a partner with more U.P. intermediate school districts to operate as a K-12 district with a blended-learning high school through various locations in the U.P. The school will be governed by a U.P. Blended Academy Advisory Board, comprising representatives from participating ISDs, local education authorities and agencies, and will contract with DeTour Area Schools as its educational service provider.

Oshelski said this academy represents a unique level of cooperation among local school districts and intermediate school districts in northern Michigan and LSSU, focusing on the natural resource assets to provide project-based learning experiences. Projected initial enrollment is 200 students.

In other business, the LSSU board approved sabbatical leave of varying lengths for Prof. Kathy Berchem, asst. professor of nursing; Jason Swedene, assoc. prof. of philosophy and humanities; and Brian Zinser, asst. prof. of marketing.

Berchem, a recent recipient of the LSSU Distinguished Teaching Award, will take fall 2013 and spring 2014 semesters to attend Rush University in Chicago and pursue a doctorate in nursing practice. The clinical program builds upon her clinical master’s degree from Michigan State University.

Swedene, who is the advisor for LSSU’s Honors Program, will take the spring 2014 semester to study perspectives on childhood and children from the 8th century BCE through the 18th century neoclassical period. He hopes to study in Rome while developing a course for the Honors Program on children and childhood in history, religion, ethics and art and will also complete writing his book, “The Thinking Parents’ Guide to Raising Children.”

Zinser, who advises the campus group Enactus, formerly known as Students In Free Enterprise, will take this fall semester to work on a project that will attempt to explain the determinants of American Muslims’ intentions to use retail Islamic banking and financial services in the United States. He seeks to develop an article to be published in a peer-reviewed journal in 2014.

MARKETING ON THE MENU – Lake Superior State University's state-appointed trustees and LSSU leadership enjoy dinner with students from last semester's sports and events marketing course. The 20-student class designed and managed all aspects – staffing, publicity, recruiting sponsors, and revenue tracking - of three fundraising activities that raised a total of $4,149.70 for area charitable and worthy causes. Heather Cuthrell (second from left) and her team organized a trivia night that raised funds for the Sault's Downtown Development Authority. Kirsi Heikkinen (third from left) and her team hosted a "Run for the Law" 5K run/walk to benefit The Thin Blue Line of Michigan, a non-profit that provides assistance to families of ill, disabled or deceased law enforcement and first-responders. Cuthrell chats with Trustee Ann Parker; to the right of Heikkinen are LSSU President Tony McLain, Trustee Doug Bovin, and LSSU Vice President for Finance Sherry Brooks. Heikkinen is a sophomore from Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., majoring in business administration/marketing with dual minors in international business and sports marketing. Cuthrell is a junior in sport and recreation management from Waterford, Mich. (LSSU/Drew Putvin)

A print-resolution photo that runs with this caption can be found by clicking here.


CONTACTS: Tom Pink, e-mail, 635-2315; John Shibley, e-mail, 906-635-2314.