Local colleges seek $50M for major projects


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Local colleges seek $50M for major projects

Campus improvements
The Ohio Higher Education Funding Commission put forward its list of projects it recommends receive state funding in the next capital budget. Listed below are some from the $404.5 million list.
School Project Cost
Central State Brown Library Structural Repair & ADA $3,000,000
Central State Brown Library Mold Remediation $1,500,000
Central State total $4,500,000
Cincinnati Medical Sciences Building Renovation $28,800,000
Cincinnati Wherry & HPB Rehabilitation $8,000,000
Cincinnati total $36,800,000
Cincinnati State Center for Workforce Innovation & Education $4,600,000
Cincinnati State total $4,600,000
Clark State Energy Efficiency Improvements $2,100,000
Clark State total $2,100,000
Edison State Roof Repair & Replacements $430,000
Edison State Electronic Lock System $252,000
Edison State HVAC Repair & Replacements $250,000
Edison State Parking Lot Resurfacing $218,000
Edison State Security Cameras $160,000
Edison State total $1,310,000
Miami Shideler Hall Renovations $21,000,000
Miami Hamilton Mosler Hall $800,000
Miami Middletown Gardner-Harvey Technology Upgrades $500,000
Miami total $22,300,000
Ohio State Elevator Safety Repairs & Replacements $4,755,000
Ohio State Emergency Generator Replacement $200,000
Ohio State Pomerene Hall Renovation $37,200,000
Ohio State Oxley Hall Renovation $15,600,000
Ohio State Roof Repair & Replacements $6,309,958
Ohio State Fire System Replacements $5,295,000
Ohio State HVAC Repair & Replacements $5,189,500
Ohio State Infrastructure Improvements $1,170,000
Ohio State Building Envelope Repair $1,075,000
Ohio State Plumbing Repair $919,000
Ohio State Road / Bridge Improvements $850,000
Ohio State Electrical Infrastructure $696,500
Ohio State total $79,259,958
Ohio University HVAC Repair & Replacements $3,400,000
Ohio University Campus Roadway Improvements $6,000,000
Ohio University Roof Repair & Replacements $4,250,000
Ohio University College of Fine Arts Infrastructure Upgrades $2,700,000
Ohio University Campus Classroom Upgrades $1,500,000
Ohio University Utility Tunnel Upgrades $1,000,000
Ohio University Electrical Distribution Upgrades $1,000,000
Ohio University Campus Accessibility Improvements $850,000
Ohio University Building Envelope Restorations $750,000
Ohio University total $21,450,000
Sinclair Life & Health Sciences Education Center $4,000,000
Sinclair Natl Unmanned Aerial System Training Center $4,000,000
Sinclair total $8,000,000
Wright State Classroom Modernization & Maintenance $5,000,000
Wright State Creative Arts Center $3,650,000
Wright State Veterans & Workforce Gateways $3,500,000
Wright State Shared Services – Salt Storage $1,000,000
Wright State Data Analytics & Visualization Environment $600,000
Wright State Lake Modernization of Library $960,000
Wright State total $14,710,000
Source: Ohio Higher Education Funding Commission

Ohio will likely pump more than $400 million into its college and university campuses in the next two years — taxpayer dollars that in part would position the schools to train students for jobs in rapidly growing industries.

Locally, those projects include $4 million for Sinclair Community College to create a “state-of-the-art” facility for its national unmanned aerial systems training center. The center, among the proposals highlighted by the state, would be renovated space where the college can “begin to grow a highly trained and specialized workforce that should be able to attract businesses to Ohio.”

Wright State University would set up a modern space to train students in the “high-growth field” of data analytics with $600,000 from the state. The field is expected to reach 4.4 million jobs globally by 2015, with only enough qualified candidates to fill one-third of those jobs, said Mark Polatajko, WSU’s vice president for business and fiscal affairs.

The renovations are just two of the local projects included in the $404.5 million capital budget for higher education, which could be introduced by state lawmakers as early as next week. Requests from local schools make up $50 million of the funding.

Overall, the money is aimed mostly at projects that reduce the colleges’ operating expenses, modernize classrooms and help Ohio maintain its investment in the campuses.

“We’re in a situation where all the building that was done to accommodate the baby boomers, all of those buildings… they’re at the end of their useful lives,” said David Creamer, Miami University’s vice president for finance and business services and treasurer. “There’s a substantial reinvestment that the state of Ohio needs to make in order to preserve these buildings.”

No one overlooked

The funding was divvied up by the schools themselves for the second time, at the request of Gov. John Kasich and through the Higher Education Funding Commission. Previously, the state used a formula based on age of a college’s facilities, its enrollment and the amount of infrastructure it must maintain.

The state called the formula fair, but said it was not responsive enough to current needs. Critics said the old method gave more money to schools that had the best lobbyists, said Ohio University President Roderick McDavis, who led the commission this year.

With colleges working together to split the money, no one was overlooked, McDavis said, and all 37 presidents signed their names to support the recommendations.

The funding would address some of the most immediate needs on local campuses, including $4.5 million for Central State University to do mold remediation and structural repair on its Brown Library, and bring the building in full compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The building, which has “structural design deficiencies” and water seeping through the roof, was among those constructed quickly after the 1974 tornado that destroyed most of the campus, said Daarel Burnette, vice president for administration and chief financial officer at CSU.


Modernizing classrooms is another major goal of the budget, and Wright State would get $5 million for lecture halls and other rooms across its campus. The project would complement the “world class” classroom building Wright State is constructing now, Polatajko said.

At Miami, $21 million would renovate Shideler Hall, which was constructed in 1965. The building, which houses Miami’s Department of Geology and Environmental Earth Science, is in need of upgrades to its piping, electrical and heat and air condition systems, Creamer said.

The department’s programs have had success attracting students, but not in keeping up with the facilities needed for current research and teaching demands, Creamer said. The university would also get funding for its regional campuses.

Sinclair would also get $4 million for its future Life and Health Sciences Education Center, which would bring together programs are are currently spread across nine locations on campus, said college spokesman Adam Murka.

Not just nicer space

Wright State would also receive $3.65 million toward the renovation of its Creative Arts Center. The university will break ground on April 11 on the $23.5 million project, said Kristin Sobolik, dean of the College of Liberal Arts. The university still needs to raise $2.75 million for the project, she said.

The center, which is about 40 years old, will get a major addition to the front, which will include new dance studios, a stage combat studio and art galleries. Part of the funding will also create a new media incubator where students can be on the cutting-edge of media development, Sobolik said.

“We’re not just renovating to keep things the same as they’ve always been and have a nicer space,” she said. The updates will ensure Wright State is “keeping up with our students’ needs.”

Another $3.5 million is dedicated for Wright State to create a veterans center and workforce gateway in its students center. And $1 million would allow it to create a salt storage facility to share with neighboring municipalities and the Ohio Department of Transportation.

Clark State Community College is slated to get $2.1 million for energy efficiency improvements, including a new roof for the Performing Arts Center. The college will also install new fixtures and equipment to reduce water use in the restrooms, among other projects.

Clark State was not approved for the $13 million it said it requested to purchase land at its Beavercreek campus and construct a second building there. The college may be able to apply for money from a $16 million “small campus expansion” fund, which will be administered by the chancellor of the Ohio Board of Regents. McDavis said that set-aside is designed to provide matching funds for projects that community colleges could not afford on their own.

Clark State President Alice Blondin said the college will submit an application for money from the fund once the criteria has been determined.

“We’ll continue to seek out funding sources for our Greene Center expansion plans and look forward to seeing our vision for that campus become a reality,” she said in a statement.

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