$21M for Portage construction projects clears Ohio House

Gov. John Kasich speaks at the Ohio News Associations annual convention Feb. 6, 2014, in Columbus.

Jacob Byk

Gov. John Kasich speaks at the Ohio News Association’s annual convention Feb. 6, 2014, in Columbus.

Lexxi Gillies

The Ohio House passed a $2.4 billion capital improvement plan Wednesday. The state construction budget is currently in the Senate, and Gov. John Kasich said he anticipates it to be signed this week.

The proposed bill will help fund community, school, park and prison projects throughout the state. If the bill is passed, Portage County will receive $21 million for multiple projects in the area.

Shalersville Park will get $27,750 for the Portage County walking trail. Hiram College will get $260,854 for auditorium maintenance, NEOMED will receive more than $1.9 million for building repairs, and Kent State will get $18.5 million for room and science lab upgrades.

Gregg Floyd, senior vice president for finance and administration at Kent State, said the funds would be divided to make improvements to three science buildings on the main campus.

“We are very grateful that the state supported our request to address the critical physical needs throughout our university,” Floyd said. “Modernizing the teaching spaces in each of these facilities will allow us to better prepare students in the science disciplines to enter the competitive job market.”

Across the state, the full budget includes $675 million for school repairs, $574 million to state agencies, almost $450 million for colleges and university, $369 million for road and bridge related projects and $100 million in Clean Ohio funding for farmland, with the rest put towards state parks.

Tim Keen, director of the Office of Budget and Management, has been presenting the bill to both the House and Senate. He said there was “particular emphasis given to each project’s impact on jobs and economic growth.”

Kasich’s administration predicts the funded projects would create an estimated 31,000 jobs in Ohio in the next several years.

Contact Lexxi Gillies at [email protected].