The master plan

Telecom renovations strive to improve student-housing environment

Rankin Renovations: The renovation of Rankin Center is to facilitate a new campus University Center. The new center will allow for more centralized activities for students. Photo By: Kate Dupon | Photo Editor
The Ferris State University Board of Trustees approved several campus projects, including the relocation of Telecommunications on March 25.

The relocation of Telecommunications is part of the university’s planned renovation of the Rankin Student Center to become the new campus University Center (UC).

Chief Technology Officer John Urbanick said the move would provide improved access for students being located more centrally. This is tied to the university master plan for revitalizing that area of the Big Rapids campus as well as improving the student-housing environment.

The total project cost for the relocation of Telecommunications, the limited renovation of Rankin Center to accommodate the move and the temporary relocation of the existing offices is estimated at just under $3.4 million.

The project calls for Ferris’ Telecommunications and the university network infrastructure to be moved from the basement of Masselink Hall to Rankin.Masselink is tentatively schedule to be demolished along with Carlisle Hall in the summer of 2013.

The renovation of a portion of Rankin and relocation of some offices to other locations will be necessary. The demolition of Masselink and Carlisle Halls will create parking for the new UC. The additional parking is expected to be available for the start of the fall 2012 semester.

These projects are expected to span multiple fiscal years as part of the campus master plan. The Telecommunications department is responsible for installation and ongoing maintenance of cabling, fiber optics, wireless and networking infrastructure for the Big Rapids campus. All student, faculty and staff computing devices utilize these network infrastructure services.

The university also uses the network for fire life safety and energy management of buildings on the Big Rapids campus. In addition to supporting the infrastructure, the department is also responsible for providing telephone, cellular, cable TV and emergency communications services.

The second unit managed by the director of Telecommunications is the Student Technology Services department.

STS is responsible for supporting the entire residence halls’ and apartments’ network and computing needs. STS is currently located at the far north end of campus in the West Building and will also be moving into the Rankin Center.

All of the university’s networking infrastructure currently runs through Masselink Hall.

“We are planning ahead so that all of the services and network infrastructure can be moved with minimal disruptions to our students, faculty and staff,” Urbanick said.

Urbanick said the biggest improvement students will see will be the location of the Student Technology Services team in the current Rankin Center.

The goal is to complete the Telecommunications construction inside Rankin Center for offices and equipment room by March 2012 along with the university network infrastructure completed in the spring of 2013.

For more information, visit to keep up to date with the latest news around campus.

Also, check out to explore other projects inside FSUs’ master plan.