Clarksville, TN – During its winter meeting on Friday, the Austin Peay State University (APSU) Board of Trustees unanimously agreed to an annual base rental fee for a possible 30-year lease of Montgomery County’s multipurpose event center.
The lease will provide space for the University men’s and women’s basketball programs, including coach and assistant coach offices, locker rooms, practice facilities and game day facilities.
“The Dunn Center is some 40 years old, and we’re probably at the threshold of some major expense to keep it up to par where it should be to continue playing basketball in there,” Trustee Billy Atkins, chair of the board’s Business and Finance Committee, said.
Under the agreement, Austin Peay will pay $1 million a year for the first five years, with that price going down to $800,000 a year for the remainder of the lease. To offset the cost, the University has identified several potential revenue streams associated with the project, including $3 million worth of naming opportunities in the multipurpose event center for Austin Peay State University. Use of the space will also lead to increased ticket sales, luxury seat revenue, premium seating revenue, additional advertising sales opportunities and more corporate sponsorships.
The University consulted with a construction company to see how much it would cost to build a similar practice facility on campus and to renovate the aging Dunn Center to provide the same amenities as the County’s multipurpose event center.
“Building on campus would cost us approximately $16 million, and we would have to finance that through additional debt,” Mitch Robinson, APSU vice president for Finance and Administration, said. “The anticipated annual debt service would be about $1.4 million per year, therefore it is in the best interest of Austin Peay State University and the state of Tennessee to execute the proposed lease agreement with Montgomery County.”
The board approved the lease, with the possibility of minor edits to the agreement in the future.
Additional campus projects
On Friday, the board also approved several campus projects that the University will now submit to the state. Among those projects is a proposed $550,000 renovation of 317 College Street, converting that building into a University Welcome Center.
The board also approved a proposed $1.2 million Browning Plaza upgrade. Last summer, the University closed Browning Drive, which extended between the Browning Building and the Morgan University Center. This project, if approved by the state, will create a more welcoming pedestrian pathway in the center of campus, while also remaining accessible to emergency vehicles.
Proposed degree programs
During the board’s Academic Affairs committee meeting on Thursday, the trustees learned of two new degree programs the University is working to develop – a Master of Science in Criminal Justice with a concentration in Homeland Security and a Bachelor of Science in National Security Studies. The degrees are still in the early planning stages and will need the approval of the board, the Tennessee Higher Education Commission and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
In reference to the master’s degree, Dr. Rex Gandy, APSU provost and vice president for academic affairs, said, “this particular program will be unique in specializing in homeland security and leveraging the professional experiences of APSU faculty and the military officials from Fort Campbell.”
For the bachelor’s degree, he said, “We anticipate it will be especially attractive to bring in more active duty military seeking career advancement.”
An archived video of the meeting will be available soon at http://www.apsu.edu/president/board-of-trustees/board-meeting-archived-videos.php.