Almost a year after work on South Carolina State University’s Clyburn Transit Center was completed, the building has been designated to house the university’s waste energy and biomass energy research.
Dr. John Rosenthall, head of Research, Economic Development and 1890s Programs, reported to trustees Thursday that equipment has already been moved to the 8,500-square-foot Transit Center.
He also announced that Dr. Kenneth Lewis, former dean of the university’s College of Science, Mathematics, Engineering and Technology, has been hired to conduct research in the center.
“Dr. Lewis is a distinguished research scientist,” Rosenthall said. “He will be doing research for us.”
Lewis will also be traveling for the university a great deal, including to Washington, D.C., where he will be meeting with the Department of Energy, according to Rosenthall.
Lewis left the university in April 2011 after being removed as dean. He had been heavily involved in researching the development of alternative forms of energy.
The $4.8 million center — the first phase in the James E. Clyburn Transportation Center — was completed last December after 13 years of delays.
It has space for automotive research and education, a chiller plant, underground fuel tanks, three automotive research bays and a fourth bay for cleaning and preparing vehicles.
In other business, the board of trustees’ budget committee voted to send the full board a proposed budget for the current fiscal year. The budget includes $600,000 in cuts in several departments.
Decisions about specific areas to be cut will be left to the departments, according to Vice President of Finance Eric Eaton.
His proposals included $50,000 in cuts in the president’s office, finance division, institutional advancement, athletics and institutional effectiveness. Academic affairs will receive a cut of $350,000.
Trustee Anthony Grant noted that with the additional cuts, academic affairs would see total cuts of $907,000.
Dr. Evelyn Fields, vice president of academic affairs, said academics was cut by $1.6 million at the beginning of the year. Additionally, academic affairs had collaborated with Eaton on another $557,700 in cuts, but Fields is concerned about the added $350,000.
“It’s not that we can’t begin to work to see where we can come up with additional money,” she said. “We just want to be sure that we are very well aware where that money is coming from when it’s cut, if it’s cut, to weigh in on that to make sure that we can influence the impact on our faculty.”
Grant said he wants the administration to be responsible for raising revenue as part of the budget.
Trustee Maurice Washington proposed cuts in various areas, including the use of cell phones. Eaton noted that the use of purchase cards has been cut off completely.
Grant said he wanted a point of clarification before the budget committee approved the proposal.
“We’re going to approve this budget recognizing that this budget is a moving budget, but for the most ... we’re looking for further improvements,” he said. He also said he wanted revenue opportunities to be included in the budget.
The final motion, stated by Washington, said that the committee approved the fiscal year 2013 budget as approved by the administration.
The budget was passed by a voice vote without opposition. The full board will also have to accept the budget. It meets on Dec. 6.
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