Trustees focus on facilities

by Kristin Szostek | 11/11/02 6:00am

Improvements to facilities trumped budget cuts as the focus of this weekend's Board of Trustees meeting, while College finances remained a sensitive and relatively untouched subject.

While the Finance Committee did present a report to the Trustees, no action was taken to reallocate the College's operating budget and further cuts are not anticipated, President of the College James Wright said.

Wright did stress, however, the uncertainty of future budgeting issues, explaining that there is no way to ascertain future financial conditions.

Wright functioned as the meeting's spokesperson, as Chair Susan Dentzer '77 and Trustee Russell Carson '65 avoided the subject of the College's proposed budget cuts.

Dentzer would only comment that the Board had discussed next year's budget, and Carson declined to speak about College finances.

Deferring most financial questions to Wright was an apparent effort by the Trustees to curb speculation in light of negative faculty and student reactions to the proposed cuts.

The votes that were cast over the two days of meetings included approvals for renovations and additions to Dartmouth's Child Care Project, the Alumni Gym and the Thayer School of Engineering, Wright said.

The Alumni Gym and Thayer renovations will be financed by gifts, while loans will subsidize the expansion of the Child Care Project, Wright said.

Susan Lloyd, the Director of the Child Care Resource Office, appeared overjoyed at the Board's decision, explaining that no improvements have been made to the Child Care Project since its establishment in 1987 while there is "a huge child care need in the community that's just growing."

Although the expansion of the center won't meet all of the program's needs, this weekend's nod to move forward was "a huge step in the right direction," Lloyd said. She acknowledged the difficulty of getting funding for any project because of the continuing economic downturn.

Other Board events this weekend included the Board's first official meeting with Dean of the Faculty Michael Gazzaniga.

Gazzaniga described the meeting as "an informational thing" and said that the deans and the Trustees discussed "new organization of current talent" and the creation of new departmental projects.

Dentzer said that the Board's Thursday night working dinner with the deans generated "excellent discussion" regarding new departmental directions. Carson echoed Dentzer's optimism, saying that his first impression of Gazzaniga was "very positive."

The weekend was geared toward interaction between the Board and the faculty, as Fall term Board meetings traditionally have been, Wright said. He added that the Winter and Spring term meetings would include more activities with students.

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