Arkansas State had previously submitted an amended application for the property on Feb. 14, 2007. Due to the amount of time that had passed since the initial application, the U.S. Department of Education recently requested the university to submit an updated application.
"After further evaluating the planned use for the building in light of current conditions, we do not believe that the highest and best use of the property will be achieved through the implementation of programs which were set forth in our initial application," said Dr. Tim Hudson, chancellor of Arkansas State University-Jonesboro.
Chancellor Hudson noted that the decision not to reapply for the building came after meetings with Dr. Lynita Cooksey, provost, Dr. Len Frey, vice chancellor for Finance and Administration, and others on campus. In addition, Arkansas State has recently completed a campus master planning process that has helped reshape thinking about various aspects of the campus. The initial application for the building estimated renovations to be $118,000.
"After more thorough evaluation, current projected renovation costs to make the building operational for its intended use range from just over $1 million to $2.15 million," said Dr. Frey.
Dr. Cooksey said that the university remains committed to providing science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) educational outreach through its current centers and there will be no reduction in the quality or volume of services currently provided. She and Dr. Frey are evaluating other on-campus options for co-locating the directors and staff in one facility.
Last year, the city of Jonesboro requested the Local Redevelopment Authority to award the building to the city for a police precinct. Chancellor Hudson indicated that the university would certainly support the city of Jonesboro if it renews its request for the building. Arkansas State University and the city of Jonesboro have been working together on numerous projects since Hudson's arrival as chancellor of ASU-Jonesboro in May of this year.
"It is vital that the city and ASU work together to advance economic development and growth for this region. I will continue to work with Mayor Perrin and city leaders to ensure that ASU is the best partner that it can be," said Chancellor Hudson.