Parking, room rates to increase

Tim Magaw

The Board of Trustees approved cost increases for room and board and parking permits for the 2007-2008 academic year during its meeting yesterday at the Capital Club in Columbus.

Both increases were approved to offset rising costs and other expenses.

The price of room and board will increase by about 4.7 percent, bringing the total cost of a double room and the university’s basic meal plan to $7,200 for the school year. This is $320 more than the average rates from the 2006-2007 school year.

“We have seen significant increases in the cost of utilities and the cost of employee benefits,” President Lester Lefton said. “As electric and gas companies continue to increase rates, this isn’t something we can continue to absorb.”

He said the room and board price jump will help the university continue to provide quality services to the students while offsetting costs. Only three universities have announced their percentage increase in room and board prices for the next academic year, and the University of Cincinnati’s has the highest with 6.2 percent.

Out of the state’s public and private universities with large residential populations, Kent State’s room and board rates remain one of Ohio’s lowest. According to the summary of the Board of Trustees’ actions, there will be no increase in the monthly rate for one and two bedroom apartments in Allerton Apartments.

In addition to the increase in room and board, the price for stadium permits will rise from $75 to $100. The cost of C-Ice Arena passes will rise from $130 to $140, and on-campus S passes will rise from $150 to $160.

“We have built new parking lots, and we have tried to create more convenient parking for students, realizing they have to come to class from jobs or go to critical internships off campus,” Lefton said.

He said the increases were modest and that Kent State’s parking rates are significantly less than Ohio’s other universities, such as Ohio State and the University of Cincinnati whose prices reach more than $500.

“The Board had a discussion about this, too, and we feel it’s important to keep the increases at a minimum,” said Sandra Harbrecht, chair of the Board of Trustees.

The Board also named the Daily Kent Stater’s editor’s office in honor of Helen Dix, the paper’s first female editor, who recently turned 90 years old.

“The trustees thought that her far-reaching contributions to the university warranted the naming of the editor’s office of the Daily Kent Stater in Franklin Hall,” Lefton said.

The Board also agreed to sell a 13.75 acre plot of land in Brimfield Township for $1.375 million to Robinson Memorial Hospital, which will allow the medical complex at state Route 43 and Devon Place to expand.

“The board has authorized to sell it to Robinson Memorial Hospital and prepares to use (the money) to further the advancement of the campus at a future date,” Lefton said. “The development of this site by Robinson Memorial will result in increased medical services for the community.

“We’re trying to be good neighbors to the community,” he added.

The Board also approved renovations to the second, fourth and tenth floors of the University Library, which will cost more than $2 million, part of which will come from private donations.

Lefton said there would be enhanced study spaces, a writing commons, an improved area for periodicals and renovation to the entrance of the administration’s executive offices. The department of Special Collections and Archives, located on the tenth floor, will also be expanded. This expansion of the archives was made possible by a $435,000 donation, which was set aside from a total gift of $935,000, from the estate of Gerald and Victoria Read.

The Board also approved:

• The construction of a $14.8 million health sciences building at the Ashtabula campus.

• The construction of a science building at the Stark Campus, which is estimated to cost about $10.5 million.

• Renovations for Dix Stadium, which will cost about $1.8 million.

The Board held its meeting at the Capital Club at the Huntington Center in Columbus. The trustees hold a meeting in Columbus every two years to interact with state legislators and trustees from other universities.

“It’s been great,” Lefton said. “We’ve met with a number of legislators, including House Speaker Jon Husted. We’re expressing our appreciation to the House’s leadership for keeping higher education a top priority.”

Contact administration reporter Tim Magaw at [email protected].