Senate to vote on funds for Franklin renovation

Kim Thompson

The School of Journalism and Mass Communication is one step closer to having a new home in Franklin Hall, thanks to an unanimous committee vote yesterday to send the capital bill to the floor of the Senate.

The State Senate is expected to vote on the bill today, which would give Kent State a total of $25.5 million for campus improvements and almost $1.8 million to the Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine.

The Ohio House of Representatives passed the bill Wednesday but with an amount less than administrators had originally planned.

If passed by the Senate and Gov. Taft, nearly $17.5 million of the total $25.5 million would go to the main campus for renovations.

David Creamer, vice president for administration, said included in that $17.5 million is $13.9 million for Franklin Hall.

“We at one point were anticipating $17 million for the project,” Creamer said. “So we’ve had to take roughly $3 million out of the project.”

Tom Euclide, director of Architecture and Engineering, said the original budget allowed the teleproductions studios to move from the Music and Speech Center into Franklin Hall with the rest of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Because of the budget cuts, Euclide said doing so is no longer feasible. He said now the Office of the University Architect is exploring ways to build better electronic connections between the two buildings.

He also said the original size of the planned addition was 95,000 square feet, but after the budget cuts, the size is down to 80,000 square feet.

Creamer said the remaining $3.5 million given to the main campus would be used for instructional equipment and basic renovations to existing buildings.

The rest of the $25.5 million given to the university would go to regional campuses, including $1 million to the Stark campus for a fine arts building and a new campus center and nearly $1 million to the Trumbull campus for a science laboratory addition.

Rich Lewis, director of government relations for NEOUCOM, said a portion of their $1.8 million would be used for basic renovations as well.

Lewis said more than $1.3 million would be used to renovate multi-disciplinary laboratories used to teach primarily first- and second-year students.

Lewis said the planned budget for renovation at NEOUCOM was also larger initially, but capital budgets were reduced statewide.

“All of the higher education capital budgets were reduced by 20 percent,” Lewis said. “That’s due to the state’s economy and the revenues of the state.”

Contact medicine reporter Kim Thompson at [email protected].