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Kent State Takes Steps Toward Capital ImprovementsPosted March 19, 2012
To help ensure Kent State’s ability to provide students now and in the future with a world-class education, the Kent State University Board of Trustees reauthorized the issuance of general receipts bonds to allow the university to finance the rehabilitation of aging buildings and new construction at its Kent Campus. “Kent State University feels intense pressure to attend to our infrastructure, which is essential to meeting the demand of our growing student population and to address the necessary safety needs of our Kent Campus,” says Kent State University President Lester A. Lefton.
The Board amended the terms of the bond issuance that it initially approved in November 2009. That authorization expired Nov. 30, 2011. The Board reauthorized the issuance with a deadline of Dec. 13, 2013, and amended the total amount of bonds issued to $170 million, a decrease in the original issuance limit of $210 million. This action will allow the university to take advantage of today’s very favorable lending market.
“Everyone agrees on the need for these capital improvements,” states Board Chair Jacqueline Woods. “The board believes we cannot afford to ignore pressing deferred maintenance repairs and renovations. We’re making some tough decisions not the least of which is a major 30 year commitment in our budget in order to go forward. It represents the university’s single largest reinvestment in its academic infrastructure.” The bond payments will come out of the university’s operating budget, from general receipts.
The facilities improvement plan will have a tremendous impact on the quality of education at Kent State. All projects will align with Kent State's academic priorities, preserve the value of recent improvements, allow the continuance of university operations and, to the greatest extent possible, use best practices in energy efficiency. The next step is to determine the projects and present that plan at the next Board meeting.
Attending to the needs of the aging infrastructure helps the university play an even stronger role in Ohio’s economic recovery. Chair of the Board’s Academic Excellence and Student Success Committee, Dennis Eckart adds, “We’re doing what the state has asked, and we’re investing in what the state has asked us to do, which is to encourage more people to go to college, to invest in retention efforts to increase the number of college graduates in Ohio, and to produce well-prepared graduates for Ohio’s economy.”
Kent State graduates are in high demand in Ohio’s workforce. In fact, as the number one and largest producer of college-degreed talent available to Northeast Ohio employers in fields such as nursing, investing in academic facilities is a practical economic decision. “As a hospital administrator, I know that increased enrollment in programs such as nursing requires an infrastructure that can support that level of demand in order to meet the needs for Ohio,” comments Trustee Stephen Colecchi, member of the Board’s Finance and Administration Committee.
Click here to watch the video of Lefton talking about the Bond Issue.