Trustees Approve Library Expansion, New Lake Claire Amenities

An expansion of the John C. Hitt Library and new outdoor amenities at Lake Claire won the approval of UCF’s Board of Trustees on Thursday.

Trustees approved spending about $35.6 million of Capital Improvement Trust Fund fees on the two projects, which were recommended by a committee that includes students. The per-credit-hour fee funds student-related projects on campus.

Before any construction can begin, the state Board of Governors, which oversees all Florida public universities, must authorize spending the fee on the two projects. The state Legislature also must vote to release the money to UCF next year.

The library expansion would accommodate a four-story Automated Retrieval Center that would hold up to 1.5 million volumes, freeing up much of the main library to add individual and group study spaces.

The new addition also would enable UCF to keep a portion of the library open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The 24-hour space is something many students want to see at the library, said Cortez Whatley, president of the Student Government Association

The most frequently used materials would remain in the main library, while materials that are rarely used would be moved to the expansion. An automated retrieval system would fetch those materials when needed, and the system would save the university money as well as space.

The Lake Claire enhancements would include a student services building with space for boats and other outdoor equipment. Usage of the recreational area has nearly tripled during the past three years as a result of prior improvements such as sand volleyball courts.

In other action, the Board of Trustees:

Recognized several faculty members who earned at least $1 million in external research funding during the past year. A total of 35 faculty members achieved Millionaires Club status in 2011-12.

Heard an update on a UCF initiative that involves the collection and interpretation of data examining topics such as which students are at risk for dropping out of a course or not completing a program. That data then would be used to help identify barriers to student success and to help students overcome those barriers. The goals of the initiative include increasing student retention and graduation rates.

Learned that UCF will host the 2014 Science Olympiad National Tournament, which will be the 30th anniversary of the competition. The invitation was a result of UCF’s success with hosting the Science Olympiad earlier this year. The tournament includes about 2,500 of the nation’s best science, technology, engineering and math students.

Congratulated the UCF women’s soccer team on winning the Conference USA tournament and earning an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. The Knights defeated Miami on Saturday in the first round and will play at Florida on Friday in the second round.

Lauded Eric Van Stryland, professor of optics in CREOL, The College of Optics and Photonics, for earning the R.W. Wood Prize of the Optical Society of America for his work that revolutionized the measurement of nonlinear properties of materials.

Congratulated Eduardo Salas, of Psychology and the Institute for Simulation & Training, for winning the Michael R. Losey Award presented by the Society for Human Research Management.

Met briefly with newly elected State Rep. Joe Saunders, a 2005 UCF graduate whose district will include the university. Saunders earned a bachelor’s degree in Political Science with minors in Women’s Studies and Legal Studies.