$59 million information technology upgrade for BGSU


A new $59 million Information Technology Network Infrastructure Master Plan 2.0 was approved by Bowling Green State University trustees on Friday.

A $5.75 million upgrade to the Slater Family Ice Arena and $2.5 million renovation of West Offenhauer were also approved, as well as increases to both 2024 residence hall room and meal plan rates.

The new technology plan is set for implementation over six to 10 years.

“In any large organization information technology is the blood, the lifeline, of what we do. It’s how we communicate. It’s become such an important part of teaching, how we send information to students, send information and engage students in the learning process,” said President Rodney Rogers. “It’s almost like a utility. You’ve got to have water. You’ve got to have electricity. Just like the city of Bowling Green is doing a lot of work on utilities … this is exactly what we need to do around IT.”

Appropriations will follow as specific plans are rolled out.

“It is a long process. It will take many years. What we will always do throughout this process is monitoring what is going on in the technology space, and probably will have opportunities to pivot and adjust just as new technologies that may be coming out,” Rogers said. “We thought it was really important to know what our IT strategy is.”

The plan is set in five phases:

• Phase 1 is for Hayes Hall and the Wolfe Center, at a cost of $12 million

• Phase 2 is for Kokosing Hall, at a cost of $6 million

• Phase 3 is for the Huntington, at a cost of $6 million

• Phase 4 is for horizontal wiring in and between multiple buildings and campus zones, at a cost of $16 million

• Phase 5 is for the completion of fiber and horizontal wiring in and around remaining buildings and zones, at a cost of $19 million

The new system will include power over ethernet and support sensors from building automation. The plan includes “redundant access twenty-four/seven, a self-healing network when equipment or physical plant anomalies occur and will provide efficient data traffic management.”

Part of the wiring systems include fire safety components and various alarm systems.

Trustees approved $5.75 million in renovations and upgrades to the Slater Family Ice Arena.

Funding for the project has been identified in $3.9 million donor contributions, as well as $1.87 million in deferred maintenance reserves.

Construction will take place in multiple phases beginning this summer, with completion expected by the start of the 2025 hockey season.

“The Slater Family Ice Arena, that place has always been such an important part of our campus and our community in Northwest Ohio. This additional upgrade will really enhance the fan experience. And it will add more seating, for more fans. It sells out a lot, because of the number of fans that want to watch a game, but it also will provide some amenities that a lot of fans are expecting today,” Rogers said.

His hope is that it expands the reach of Falcon hockey and that the new entrance can display the heritage of the program.

The project includes upgrades to existing building systems, accessibility, locker rooms and restroom.

There will also be a new mezzanine on the south end that includes private suites, concessions, club-level spectator seating. A new and expanded main entrance will showcase history, memorabilia and trophy displays.

“Whether it be Scott Hamilton or those players that played on the miracle on ice team, or our national championship, or all of those great memories that I think we all have on a variety of occasion, we can relive those very magical moments,” Rogers said. “It is one of those iconic arenas in the CCHA, right now. People don’t like to play us in the Slater Family Ice Arena, because it’s loud, it’s noisy, the fans are close by, and it’s a great home ice advantage.”

In other construction business, the trustees approved the renovation of the 11th floor of Offenhauer West, at a cost of $2.5 million, for conversion to student housing. The 10,000 square foot floor will be a mix of single and double rooms, with a multiple pod bathroom, to accommodate 40 additional students.

The Asian Studies Nakamota Room, used by the Japanese Club, will be moving to University Hall.

In financial committee business, the trustees approved a meal plan rate increase of 4% for the Bronze Plan, or $4.73 per week.

The average room rate was also increased by 2.7% for the 2023-24 academic year. The average is a $100 increase.

Trustees approved seven new bachelor of science degrees.

Three new engineering technology degrees would include national accreditation with the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology.

“These engineering degrees are much more interdisciplinary than traditional engineering degrees that other universities have,” Rogers said. “What we’re doing is making sure we’re responding to what we here from other universities and companies about the types of graduates they would love to hire.”

He said that the Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering is focused on mechanical engineering within the manufacturing setting and the Robotics is “all about automation.”

The new degrees in Resort and Attraction Management and Medical Laboratory Science degrees will be 100% online programs.

The new Aviation Management and Aviation Flight Operations degrees were previously specializations within a single degree.

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