The Pennsylvania College of Technology Board on Thursday unanimously approved a preliminary agreement to acquire a house at 944 First St. The single-dwelling home caught fire in March and is set for demolition, according to college President Dr. Davie Jane Gilmour.
Penn College plans to use the property as a parking lot. Gilmour said the cost the college is paying for the property will be released once the deal is finalized.
She did not identify the owner of the property, but media reports about the March 26 blaze state that his name is Willie Rivers.
The board also approved changes to the college's statement of values and mission. The changes include an addition to the mission statement emphasizing the community's "shared commitment to diversity" and revises the "community of respect" description under the list of core values.
The new values describe the community as follows: "We are committed to diversity, inclusiveness, tolerance and civility. We recognize that respect of individual differences is the foundation of civil behavior across the college community."
The board authorized the appointment of Larson, Kellett and Associates, P.C., to perform auditing services and approved the firm's engagement letter to audit the college's financial records for the fiscal year ending June 30. Also approved were promotions for nine members of the college faculty.
The board also heard from representatives of the Student Government Association (SGA). Outgoing President Adam J. Yoder, who will graduate in May, updated the board on the students' accomplishments over the past year.
Yoder said the SGA rallied the campus community to endow two scholarships, one of which is the newly established Tracy A. Garis Memorial Scholarship, named in honor of a student who died in a traffic crash in June. Yoder said students held a number of fundraisers and brought in $31,800 for the two scholarships over a seven-month period.
Yoder said the SGA also formed a president's council this year to increase collaboration with the administration. In addition, he said several new clubs have been formed, including an off-campus housing organization and a veterans' club. Yoder thanked the board for modeling leadership and student support, saying the board members provided an "excellent example."
Gilmour said she and the board are "enormously proud" of students for establishing the Garis scholarship.
"It's the culmination of a lot of very hard work by the students," she said.
The incoming SGA President Gregory J. Miller told the board he hopes to increase student involvement and participation in campus activities next year. He also would like to improve awareness of the SGA and its importance to student affairs.
Gilmour said the board's next meeting most likely will include a budget update.
"We are knee-deep in budget preparations," she said. "We'll have that finalized by the end of May."
The board's next meeting will be held at 3 p.m. June 23 at the Thompson Professional Development Center.