For the fifth year in a row, ETSU hosted an open forum in Brown Hall, which allowed faculty and staff to ask questions. The questions, answered by ETSU President Brian Noland, ranged in topic.
“Thank you for being a part of what I hope can be a conversation,” Noland said. “This is a different setting than this forum has traditionally been held in. That’s reflective of construction across campus.”
Dr. Noland thanked the crowd for their patience about the construction, and then gave details on what parts of campus are being renovated. The Culp Center was the center of the questions about renovations.
“In respect to the security profile around the Culp, it’s going to get worse before it gets better,” Noland said. “I anticipate that those fences will move towards Nicks [Hall] because in time we’ve got to bring in the cranes to set the steel … Until the building’s done it will be an inconvenience to get around, but if you take the short cut by Stone it’s really not that bad from the center of campus. Then you’re just walking your way around the back of the building to enter the Marketplace and the bookstore.”
Another question asked about the Culp was whether or not Chick-Fil-A would return once the renovations were complete.
“Chick-Fil-A is there,” Vice President of Student Affairs Dr. Joe Sherlin said. “Steak ‘n Shake will move back in. There’s a Mine Bowl option, Boar’s Head Deli and Starbucks will be in the new location.”
Another thing that was asked about frequently in the meeting was parking.
“We’ve moved offices into Yoakley and into Dossett as we’ve had to take buildings offline,” Noland said. “And some folks have asked if we’ll transfer those spaces from students to faculty and staff. I do not anticipate that we will.”
Noland then shared plans for the long term goal of campus parking.
“The plan is for all of those spaces in the interior of campus to go away,” Noland said. “So that entire stretch from the Culp to Greene Stadium would all go away and that would become enhanced green space. The plan long term is to push parking towards the perimeter and to build another garage.”
Many questions dealing with ETSU were asked over the course of the meeting. At the end of the meeting, Noland told everyone how the university does things well because of the faculty who works at ETSU and their values.
“The Culp may be delayed, and who knows when we’ll open the stairs for Gilbreath and Dossett, but those things are bumps in the road,” Noland said. “We’ll work through it. We do a lot of things really well and what I think we do better than almost any institution in the state is we try to look out for each other, and that is what today as an open forum is about.”