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Ohio House Votes to Give Kent State $21 Million for Campus Renovation

University trustees already approved spending $170 million on Kent campus facelift

The Ohio House voted Thursday to throw almost $21 million into the pot for 's renovation plans at its main and regional campuses.

The House voted to allocate $20.95 million to Kent State for various renovations and improvements as part of the state's more than $800 million capital appropriations bill.

The vote in Columbus follows one by the university trustees earlier this month to renovate the main campus as part of a multi-year construction project expected to be under way within a year.

The Ohio Senate now must consider the state appropriations bill following today's vote in the House.

State Rep. Kathleen Clyde, of Kent, said she was happy to see Kent State get the money for the requested projects.

"Even in these tough economic times, it is still very important for the legislature to focus resources on maintaining and improving the facilities at our institutions of higher education," Clyde said in prepared remarks. "This funding will contribute to the high-quality learning environment at Kent State, while also creating important construction jobs right here in our community."

The appropriations bill, as approved by the house, includes $400 million for higher education facilities in Ohio and $427 million for primary and secondary facilities.

Kent State President Lester Lefton said earlier this month the university's main campus renovation plans are not final and could not say what colleges might get new buildings and which would only see renovations. Those decisions, he said, would be made over several weeks following the bond vote.

"We have ideas," he said. "Clearly there are projects everyone knows have been on the drawing board for some time, not the least of which is architecture, art, technology."

State legislators, however, dictated how the money in the house appropriations bill would be allocated to what renovation projects, some of which are located on the university's regional campuses.

The bulk of the money allocated to Kent State, at least $11 million, would go to the main campus and be split as follows:

  • $5 million, Cunningham Hall repairs
  • $5 million, Williams Hall repairs
  • $1 million, Smith Hall repairs

Another $5 million will be spent on improvements to multidiscipline research labs. The rest, about $5 million, will go to various upgrades at the Stark, Geauga, Ashtabula, Tuscarawas, Trumbull and East Liverpool campuses, according to Clyde's office.

Kent State spokesperson Emily Vincent said in an email the university's main campus renovation plan relied on both the $170 million in bonds and the state capital improvement money in the appropriations bill.

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