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Marshall University Board of Governors approves 10-year campus master plan

New baseball field after longtime baseball coach Jack Cook

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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – The Marshall University Board of Governors today approved a 10-year campus development master plan which addresses planning for the Huntington campus, the 4th Avenue innovation district, health sciences campus, athletics areas and the satellite locations, including the South Charleston campus and the Mid-Ohio Valley Center.

While individual projects within the plan costing more than a million dollars each must still be approved by the board, the umbrella plan was unanimously adopted and serves as a tool for the university’s growth.

In reporting to the board, Senior Vice President for Operations Brandi Jacobs-Jones said it took 10 months to put together the comprehensive roadmap and involved extensive feedback from multiple stakeholder groups through a variety of channels including surveys, workshops, tours and focus groups. Several of the Huntington campus priority projects include classroom renovations, flooding interventions, and the renovations of the Science Building, Harris Hall and Smith Hall.

In other action, a five-year capital project list, as well as a deferred maintenance list, which will be sent to the state for potential funding, were approved by the board.

Following an executive session,  members unanimously approved the naming of the new baseball field after longtime baseball coach Jack Cook, as well as the naming of the clubhouse after former Marshall baseball player Alex Lawrence, whose family contributed $1 million toward the project. 

The naming of Jack Cook Field comes in conjunction with a substantial gift from the John Rulli family, who pledged to match gifts made to the baseball stadium project in Jack Cook’s honor, up to $500,000.

“What an amazing honor for our baseball program to play their games on Jack Cook Field,” Marshall Director of Athletics Christian Spears said. “Having the field named after Coach Cook fulfills the promise so many hoped would be achieved. We are extremely grateful for the matching gift from John Rulli and his family. This community can now – one person at a time, one donation at a time – help us achieve the financial goal for the match.”

Board approval was also given for a revised video board programming statement which includes structural steel placement for football, soccer, baseball and softball, as well as a new video board for softball.  The steel structures for soccer and baseball are in anticipation of future signage needs.

Today’s meeting marked a change in leadership for the board.  Patrick Farrell’s term as chair ended, although he will remain as a board member for two more years. 

President Brad D. Smith acknowledged Farrell’s work with words of gratitude, saying he was committed to principle-based decision making and was known for his even-keeled and calm demeanor.

The board approved Geoff Sheils as the incoming chair and Bill Smith as vice chair. Kathy D’Antoni will serve as secretary. Member Chris Miller and student representative Isabella Griffiths are rotating off the board.  Griffiths has graduated and Miller has opted not to seek another term.

The next board of governors meeting is set for August 7 and 8 and will serve as a training session and meeting.