University of Central Arkansas Board of Trustees members will meet over a lengthy agenda Friday that includes a proposed partnership between the school and Conway Regional Health System.

The partnership would produce a shared facility that would house the UCA department of nursing and the CRHS staff education department.

The "collaborative health care education center," according to the board’s agenda, is proposed to meet educational needs of CRHS staff and area health professionals, academic programs at UCA, specifically the Department of Nursing, and citizens of Conway.

Vice President of Governmental Relations Jeff Pitchford said the school has explored the concept before, and similar concepts have not been found in the state.

"From talking to other institutions, we’ve found that this is a unique concept," Pitchford said. "We think it is a win-win situation for us and Conway Regional, but there are still a lot of hurdles, and we have to find funding from our end and Conway Regional will from their end as well."

The action item that is to be presented at 2 p.m. Friday asks for the approval of the concept and the use of land at the north end of the campus, at Western Avenue and College Avenue.

The property, located near the hospital, is currently used as parking for the university.

The item includes a recommendation by the personnel of both entities’ foundations that a detailed schematic and visual "walk-through" of the building and site be developed to present to potential donors. 

It is estimated that the schematic, pending the board’s approval, will be paid for by CRHS Board of Directors and will cost approximately $68,000 to $70,000.

The board will also vote on a proposal that would increase the cost of meal plans for UCA students by 3 percent. 

According to the agenda, the administration proposed the increase to "cover an increase in food supplies and operating costs."

Pitchford said ARAMARK and the school have plans to expand dining options for students by bringing McAlister’s Deli and Einstein’s Brothers Bagels to the campus.

Another fee increase is proposed for students who live on campus.

The board will vote on a recommended 3-percent increase in student housing, as "related to the continued need to maintain and upgrade housing facilities by making improvements/repairs."

According to the agenda, recommended repairs to residence halls and university-owned apartments exceed $18.5 million in cost.

The proposed room and board rate for the 2011-12 academic year is $2,590, over the current charge of $2,515.

Estimated revenue to be generated per year by the proposal is $305,000.

(Staff writer Courtney Spradlin can be reached by e-mail at courtney.spradlin@thecabin.net or by phone at 505-1236. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)