Campus building improvements could total $20 million

Rex Santus

With the governor-appointed committee’s recommendations submitted to the state, Kent State is satisfied with its potential $20 million in capital funding, said Tom Euclide, associate vice president of facilities at Kent State.

“[The committee] recommended [Kent State] to receive $16 million for its main campus, and $16 million will make changes,” Euclide said. “[Students] will notice. The need greatly exceeds $16 million, so the university is going to have to put some other money into it to do it right.”

Compared to other universities in the state (Ohio State, for example, received a $66.5 million recommendation), Kent State received a somewhat modest funding recommendation. Euclide said this is understandable when considering other universities’ sizes and needs.

“When you look at the overall population of those institutions, and the type of work they’re doing, it aligns very well with what we’ve historically received [from the capital budget] based on number of students,” Euclide said. “I thought we had some very important projects, and I think the state recognized that. And they had to divide the pie up the best way they could.”

“I wish we could have gotten more,” Euclide added. “I always wish we could have gotten more.”

President Lester Lefton declined an interview on the subject but said in an email that the recommended projects align with “Kent State’s academic priorities.”

“We thank Gov. Kasich for the opportunity to come together and work with our sister institutions to develop a list of projects for capital funding,” Lefton said. “For Kent State, we are very encouraged that we have an opportunity to address some of our deferred capital needs.”

Lefton said Kent State’s projects were designed to align with the state’s focus on the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).

“This budget and the recommended projects are still in the proposal stage,” Lefton said. “They still need to be approved by the governor and the legislators.”

Euclide said the capital plan only targeted the sciences, specifically so an award would be ensured.

“The overall improvements we need in the sciences approach $80 million, something that we would never receive from the state,” Euclide said. “We identified funds that we would be awarded, and they reduced a little bit [of what we proposed], but ultimately it still works well in our favor.”

Kent State did not have any officials serve as a representative of the seven-member allocation committee, but Euclide said he does not believe this affected the recommendations.

“There was no way the state could have had every institution represented,” Euclide said. “That becomes unwieldy to have a committee that size; they selected specific leaders within the higher-education community that they felt could collaborate and come up with a decision that could benefit all. I’m not unhappy that we weren’t involved. I don’t believe that it would have changed anything if we were involved.”

All there is left to do is wait, Euclide said. There is no telling how long it could take the state legislature to approve or reject the recommendations.

“I don’t know if it’s imminent that it’s going to be submitted, if it’s going to be submitted in June or if it’s going to be submitted a year from June,” Euclide said. “This capital allocation is two years late from when we typically have it, and we’ve been in great need of money to do the work we need to do.”

Contact Rex Santus at [email protected].