With the hope of creating an on-going discussion between Frostburg State University (FSU) students and the administration, a public forum was held for FSU President Jonathan Gibralter to answer questions from students in a Q&A format. Due to a family emergency, Gibralter was unable to attend; Dr. Tom Bowling, Vice President of Student and Educational Services, took Gibralter’s place. Bowling gave an overview of the plans for the university and then opened the floor to questions. Discussion points included additions to the building plan, plans to develop more academic programs, and changes to FSU’s food service provider.
“We are in the process of completing the largest capital project the university has had,” Bowling said on the Center for Communications and Information Technology (CCIT) building. Bowling stated that the original plan was for the CCIT building to be in FSU’s hands at this point, but the construction is slightly behind schedule. He affirmed that it is “not unusual” for that to be the case for such a large building. The building will be the home of several departments, including mass communications, math, and computer science. The planetarium, a multimedia center, FSU-TV3, and FSU’s public radio station, WFWM, will also be housed in the building.
Noting that FSU’s current public safety building was built in the 1950s and is now outdated, Bowling stated that plans for a new public safety building are being developed. Its replacement will better accommodate a modern police force. In addition, SafeRide may have an office located in the building.
A new apartment style residence hall is also in the works, though its location has not been decided on. Bowling stated that the hall will likely be on the downhill side of campus. Also among the building plans is a building for Education and Health Sciences. Plans for this building are being developed.
Possibly housed in this building is a pharmacy technology program that may be developed soon. This is one of several programs that may be started at FSU. There are also discussions of offering a master’s program in nursing. The experiential learning programs will also see an increased emphasis.
“There is a committee looking at, as a graduation requirement, being involved with experiential learning,” Bowling said. He continued, “Employers are looking for people with hands-on experience. This would give great meaning to ‘A world of experience.’”
Bowling also spoke on recent, on-going, and future renovations to the residence halls. “The uphill halls have been renovated, and a quarter of Cambridge hall has been renovated, but the downhill halls are in desperate need of renovation.”
Bowling announced that FSU has found a new dining service provider. The university will be parting ways with Aramark. Chartwells will be the new provider of dining services. Not all of the details have been announced, but it is known that a Moe’s Southwestern Grill will be located in the greenhouse area of the Lane Center, and a survey will be taken to decide which vendor will replace Java City. The three possible replacements are Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, and Einstein Bros.
Several students attended the forum and voiced their support of the discussion. “I think it’s important that students know what is happening on campus so that they are more invested,” said Howard Fooksman. He continued, “We hope this can become a regular event.”
Jordan Jones, who worked with Fooksman to organize the event, stated, “I think [having a public forum] is important for students.” Fooksman and Jones would like to continue this forum and feature a rotation of various other administrators to answer student questions.
“Dr. Gibralter is incredibly honest with students who want to ask questions, and he will answer them,” said Fooksman. “We hope this is the first of a series of events where students can talk directly with administrators.”