Board to vote Sept. 12 on $170M bond projects

Rex Santus

The bulk of the projects to be funded by the university’s $170-million bond issuance will be presented to the Board of Trustees for final approval at its Sept. 12 meeting.

But students won’t have to wait that long to get a glimpse of the upcoming construction.

Aug. 29, a “First Look” event is being held in the Student Center Ballroom. The latest maps and information on planned campus buildings will be on display.

“[T]his is a good opportunity for people to see what’s at stake, interact with university leaders and President Lefton and visualize what’s coming,” said Eric Mansfield, executive director of University Media Relations, in an email.

The $170-million bond proposal was approved at the trustees’ March business meeting. The money will be used to finance new buildings and renovations on campus.

Two projects funded by the $170 million were approved at the Board of Trustees’ June meeting. Lefton said the first approved project would focus on renovating “physically failing” buildings, such as University Library, McGilvrey, Cartwright and Taylor Halls. The second will focus on accessibility and ADA compliance projects.

In order to pay back its $170 million of debt, Kent State administrators implemented a new course overload fee — $440 per credit hour a student registers over 17 hours — starting with the Fall 2012 semester. The course overload fee will begin after 16 credit hours for the Fall 2013 semester.

The new fee was largely met with opposition — a petition calling for the expulsion of the fee circulated campus and student protests of the fee were organized outside and within University Library.

“We’re going in and borrowing $170 million,” said Gregg Floyd, senior vice president for finance and administration, at an April 15 interview. “We’re trying to get into the market when it’s effective to do so, and as soon as we get into the market and borrow the money, then the need to repay [that debt] starts ticking right away.”

The bonds require an annual repayment of $11 million.

Kent State received high marks for its debt — its investment had little risk. Standard and Poor’s rated the investment an A+, and Moody’s Investor Services rated it Aa3.

Contact Rex Santus at [email protected].