Board approves Lefton’s $100K bonus, more than $33 million in building plans

The Kent State Board of Trustees awarded President Lester Lefton a $106,538 bonus and approved the construction for two new buildings on campus at its meeting Wednesday morning.

The board approved the construction of the Center for Visual Arts — which will connect Van Deusen Hall and the Art Annex — and the division of Institutional Advancement buildings. Lefton will be paid his base salary of $425,155 and his bonus this year. He will also be on paid sabbatical next year, which amounts to being paid his salary.

“We believe his tenure will be remembered as a dynamic time for Kent State University,” board chair, Jane Timken, said during the meeting. “It has been a very good year for Kent State.”

Lefton’s bonus is worth 25 percent of base salary, university spokeswoman Emily Vincent said. Last year, Lefton received a $104,450 performance bonus. This is the seventh consecutive year the trustees have awarded Lefton a bonus.

The board also increased tuition 4.5 percent for the College of Podiatric Medicine, effective in April when third and fourth-year students begin in May.

The Center for the Visual Arts – the design of which originally passed in 2012 — was approved for construction at the meeting. The building, which will cost about $34 million will bring art programs together with renovations to Van Deusen Hall, the Art Annex and the construction of a building that will connect them both.

The project is set to be completed August 2015. The renovations will feature Wi-Fi access, flat-screen TVs in classrooms and studios and a fabrication studio for 3D printing.

“The facility will unify the studio, bringing art programs together on campus for the first time in 50 years,” board member Stephen Colecchi said in the meeting.

The board also approved the construction of a new building for the Division of Institutional Advancement, which connects alumni to the university. The 32,000-square-foot building will be at the corner of South Lincoln and East Summit streets, located at the site of the DuBois Book Store.

“It will be a neat place for alumni to gather,” said Gregg Floyd, senior vice president of finance and administration.

Floyd said this building will be constructed to easily allow additions to the property in the future.

The board approved a 3.9 percent increase in room and board costs, effective fall 2014, to finance reinvestment projects regarding heating and ventilation systems in residence halls.

The board also approved work on air conditioning, heating, ventilation and new furniture for the Beal, McDowell, Dunbar and Prentice residence halls.

The university also intends to make mechanical and electrical improvements to the Verder Hall bathrooms that will cost $2.5 million.

“Finding out something is broken is not the time to be replacing it,” Floyd said. “[Increases in room and board] will probably continually [occur] for a while.”

The next Board of Trustees meeting will be held May 28, 2014.

Contact Jimmy Miller at [email protected].

—Editor’s note: Because of a reporter’s error, Thursday’s story mistakenly stated when President Lester Lefton will receive his bonus. He will receive his salary and bonus this year and will be on paid sabbatical next year, which amounts to being paid his salary.