University hopes to see effects of federal stimulus package

Nicole Stempak

Kent State is trying to cash in on the federal stimulus package.

The university submitted a $345 million wish list to the state for building projects on its eight campuses. The projects could save or create as many as 4,190 jobs.

Tom Euclide, executive director of facilities planning and operations, said he doesn’t expect the state to award the university the full $345 million but will gladly accept any money.

“Any money is good for us,” Euclide said. “We have so many needs that it would all help.”

What this means to you Administrators say students could see improvements to the buildings on campus if the university receives money from the federal stimulus package. Kent State submitted 15 proposals for renovations totaling $345 million. Students could see the upgrades as early as the end of 2009.

For example, Euclide said if the university received funds for energy conservation, Kent State would spend less money on electric and steam costs.

“(Students) should care because it’s going to lower our costs,” he said.

Euclide said he did not have an estimate on when he would hear back from the state, which has been given a portion of the $787 billion federal package to allocate in Ohio. He said he also doesn’t know what the vetting process would entail or at what point in the construction process a project is considered shovel-ready.

The state of Ohio is receiving a little more than $8 billion in federal funds.

“The federal government and the state hasn’t really defined that yet,” Euclide said of the ambiguity of the government’s definition of shovel-ready projects. “It’s been a real question of whether it’s construction contracts or is it ready to go out for bidding, or is it something that you have everything in place to start the contracting process? Contracting could be with architects or contracting could be with construction contractors.”

Gregg Floyd, vice president for finance and administration, said students should care because they will directly benefit from the stimulus money.

“It’s not only going to lower our costs, it’s going to improve the facilities in many respects,” he said.

Floyd said the projects are essentially to improve the buildings students use. He said someone only needs to see the Art Building, Bowman Hall or Van Deusen Hall to know the buildings and classrooms need work.

“We recognize that we have some significant maintenance issues in a lot of the classroom buildings, and we’re trying to find some resources so we can address that,” he said.

Euclide said the job estimates were based on calculations that every $1 million spent generates between 10 and 15 jobs from planning to construction.

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Nicole Stempak at [email protected].