I was thrilled to read that the Board of Trustees for Kent State University approved a $250 million bond issue for campus construction activity at their quarterly meeting last month. As someone that sees the campus as one of the City’s biggest selling points to attracting new businesses and residents to join us here in Kent, I figure a one-quarter of a billion dollar investment is bound to have dramatic impact on how the campus looks — and the better it looks the better Kent looks.
But not to be overlooked is the amount of new tax dollars that $250 million will bring to the City at at time when we could really use a boost. Kent State, as a public university, doesn’t have to pay property taxes but keep in mind that the City only gets about 10 cents on the dollar of paid property taxes — most of the property taxes go to the school system. But what the City does get is 100% of the income taxes and anytime there’s a jump in employment in Kent, including on the Kent State campus, we see a favorable bump in our revenues which is why we’re a bit giddy over $250 million in capital construction and all the jobs that will bring.
I talked with our engineers who manage capital projects to get a feel for how much of the $250 million is likely going to translate into new payroll which translates into income taxes. The rule of thumb for construction work is that approximately half of the project costs are in personnel payroll.
Using that logic, then we might anticipate an injection of $125 million in new payroll which at the City’s 2% tax rate equates to $2,500,000 in new income taxes. Admittedly this new cash will be a one time bump in payroll receipts but $2.5 million is about 22% of our total income taxes in a given year so that’s a big bump even if it is just temporary.
The other thing to keep in mind is that no matter how aggressive KSU hopes to be in it’s capital construction plans, it won’t spend all $250 million in one year, so the income tax receipts will also not be received in one year. However, when KSU issues the bonds arbitrage rules will require them to spend those dollars within the next 5 years so the worst case is the income tax receipts of $2.5 million are spread over 5 years — a $500,000 increase a year for 5 years. That’s still a 4.5% increase in income tax revenues for 5 years straight which in this economic climate is almost unheard of.
I haven’t seen the list of projects that make up that $250 million number but I do have a list of construction projects that KSU has underway right now — here’ s that list provided by the KSU Architect’s Office:
UPDATE ON CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS
Across Kent State’s eight campuses, here are the major facility and infrastructure improvements administered by the Office of the University Architect:
PROJECTS UNDER CONSTRUCTION:
CE&O FLEET SERVICES RELOCATION
Last fall, Fleet Services moved out of its original location in order to make more space available for potential tenants of Centennial Research Park. An addition to house Fleet Services is being built on the north end of Campus Environment and Operations. The foundation work for the addition is complete and the shell was installed. The interior build-out package is nearing completion and is slated to be completed in early December. Mechanical and electrical systems are currently being installed.
DISTRICT CHILLED WATER EXPANSION, PHASE 2
Currently under construction, this project involves addition of VFDs to the chilled water system, along with replacement of three-way valves with two-way valves. Work involves updating controls, wiring of the VFDs, and installation and removal of valves, piping and hardware. Construction is scheduled to be completed early spring in time for the 2010 cooling season.
ELECTRICAL DISTRIBUTION SYSTEM UPGRADES
ADDITIONS TO MEDIUM VOLTAGE LOOP 8B
The medium voltage loop 8B (Nixon, Terrace and Verder halls) and the electrical power metering system are being upgraded and connected to the Power Plant. Most of the electrical equipment has been set in place; equipment for the Art Annex will be set in place during winter break. Some remaining 5kV cabling is being removed to clear a path for the return portion of the new 13.2kv cabling to the Power Plant. The short medium voltage cable runs from the sectionalizing switches to the Art Annex, Verder and Terrace halls are complete. Nixon Hall has been converted to the new distribution system; power outages scheduled during winter break will convert the Art Annex, Verder and Terrace halls. This project continues through March 2010.
MUSIC & SPEECH CENTER RENOVATIONS & ADDITIONS
ROE GREEN CENTER
Music and Speech Center is being renovated and additions built to address space and program needs for the School of Theatre and Dance. One addition will provide a new lobby and black box experimental theatre on the Theatre Drive face of the building; this will also provide an enhanced entry area for students and event patrons. On the west side of the building, another addition is being constructed to provide three new dance studios and support space to relocate the Dance Program out of the MACC Annex. The exterior envelopes of both of the additions are progressing, as masonry work proceeds at a visible pace. In the theatre addition, wall framing has commenced, and plumbing and electrical systems are being roughed-in; roofing is underway. In the dance addition, installation of the exterior masonry veneer and roofing are underway. The project is expected to be weather tight by the end of November. Phased interior renovations are on-going in the existing building. Concrete and asphalt paving site work along Theatre Drive will be complete by late November.
SCHWARTZ CENTER ADMISSIONS LOBBY IMPROVEMENTS
Improvements to the Schwartz Center lobby are currently underway. New finishes, signage and furnishings have been provided and work is nearing completion. Additional flooring and lighting has been ordered and should be installed in December.
SCHWARTZ CENTER ADMISSIONS RESTROOM RENOVATIONS
The restrooms in the Admissions Department in the Schwartz Center are being renovated. Tile is currently being set, and then plumbing fixtures will be installed. Restrooms should be completed by the end of November.
CONTRACT AWARDS PENDING:
CENTENNIAL RESEARCH PARK ROOF REPLACEMENT
The original roof over Centennial Research Park will be replaced this fall/winter. The roofing contract is being processed for final approval by the Ohio Attorney General’s office.
HEER & HARBOURT HALLS ROOF REPLACEMENT
The roofing systems on Heer and Harbourt halls will be removed and replaced. The contract award is pending for construction bids that were opened on October 9.
PROJECTS ADVERTISED FOR BIDDING:
McDOWELL HALL TOILET & SHOWER ROOM REHABILITATION
Due to aging infrastructure, plumbing systems and fixtures in the bathrooms of McDowell Hall will be rehabilitated. Architectural finishes, electrical and HVAC work in these areas will also be replaced. Contractors’ bids for construction will be opened on December 9. Construction will be scheduled for completion during the summer of 2010.
VERDER HALL NEW HYDRAULIC ELEVATOR
Verder Hall’s original elevator will be removed and replaced with a new, roped, hydraulic elevator in a new hoistway shaft on the exterior of the building. Contractors’ bids for construction will be opened on December 15.
CENTENNIAL GREENS & MANCHESTER FIELD LAWN IRRIGATION
Lawn irrigation systems will be installed in order to water Centennial Greens and Manchester Field. Bids for construction that were opened on October 6 were rejected; this project will be re-bid at a later date; please watch for addendum with a modified scope and budget and new bid opening date.
PROJECTS UNDER DESIGN:
CHILD DEVELOPMENT CENTER REROOF & RESEARCH ONE SHINGLED ROOF
Existing shingles on the roofs of the Child Development Center and the Research One Building will be removed and replaced with new roofing systems which include ice guards, venting, fall protection equipment and roofing accessories. A design firm is assessing the extent of the ceiling repairs and insulation supplementation and/or replacement.
KENT MULTIMODAL TRANSPORTATION CENTER
Kent State, the city of Kent and the Portage Area Regional Transportation Authority, via a Federal Transportation Administration grant, conducted a planning study for construction of a Multimodal Transportation Center in the city. The proposed center incorporates parking, mass transportation, pedestrians and bicycles into one central facility designed to promote and increase transit, pedestrian and bicycle access to the university and downtown Kent. This project is proceeding into the schematic design phase.
KENT STUDENT CENTER MASONRY REPAIRS
An engineering firm is preparing drawings to bid repairs to the masonry overhang at the third floor balcony level of the Student Center. Poor detailing in the original design has led to failure of the bottom edge of this overhang, and a reinforcing lintel will be retrofitted over the 280 ft. length. Work will begin in the spring as soon as weather permits. Until repairs are completed, the outside balcony will be closed.
LIBRARY MAIN FLOOR RENOVATIONS
The circulation desk area and main entry lobby at the first floor of the Library will be renovated. The Office of the University Architect will be interviewing architectural and engineering firms to assist with designing this project. Construction is anticipated to commence May 2010.
MAC CENTER ATHLETIC ACADEMIC RESOURCE CENTER EXPANSION
An addition has been funded to expand the existing MAC Center Athletic Academic Resource Center. Architectural and engineering firms are currently being selected to assist with designing this project.
MULTIPLE BUILDINGS ENVELOPE REPAIRS & ROOF REPLACEMENTS
The university plans on implementing building envelope repairs and roof replacements on multiple buildings on the Kent Campus, as well as the Regional Campuses, over the next three years. The specific scope and budget of each individual project varies by building. Six buildings have been identified in current planning, but additional buildings may be added to the overall project at a later date. These buildings are: Smith Hall (1968), Science Research Lab Building (1986), Williams Hall (1967), Memorial Athletic and Convocation Center (1950), MACC Annex (1977), McGilvrey Hall (1940), and the Kent Student Center (1971). Due to the scope of the projects and schedule requirements, the university may elect to select more than one firm to complete the proposed projects. The Office of the University Architect is currently reviewing qualifications from firms interested in designing these projects.
NEW FACILITIES FOR THE COLLEGE OF TECHNOLOGY
PROGRAMMING / SITE SELECTION
Constructed in 1951 and in need of complete rehabilitation, Van Deusen Hall houses the College of Technology and portions of the School of Art. An architectural firm assessed the current configuration and needs of the building and investigated the rehabilitation or the construction of a new facility for the College of Technology. The project design should achieve LEED Silver Certification and comply with House Bill 251 reduced energy consumption requirements. The final study will be presented to the administration by the end of the year.
NEW FACILITIES FOR THE SCHOOLS OF ART AND VISUAL COMMUNICATION DESIGN
PROGRAMMING / SITE SELECTION
Constructed in 1972 and at the end of its useful life, the Art Building houses the School of Art and the School of Visual Communication Design. An architectural design firm assessed the current configuration and needs of the building and investigated a complete rehabilitation of other campus buildings and/or the construction of a new facility for these two programs. The project design should achieve LEED Silver Certification and comply with House Bill 251 reduced energy consumption requirements. The final study will be presented to the administration by the end of the year.
PORTHOUSE THEATRE PARKING LOT EXPANSION
At Porthouse Theatre, the existing site and parking area were evaluated in effort to maximize spaces within the paved area. A new, gravel parking area, accommodating 46 additional spaces, and new walkway will be constructed. Also, a new retention basin is being planned for future development when the new lot is expanded and paved.
RISMAN PLAZA RENOVATIONS, PHASE 1
This project is the initial phase of a multi-phased project to improve the university’s landscape and hardscape. The primary focus of the construction for this phase will be the Risman Plaza and surrounding areas. Renovations will include improvements to landscaping, paving, lighting, site furnishings, drainage and pedestrian walkways. This project has moved from schematic design to the construction document stage. This project should be advertised soon in order to open construction bids in January.
SCHWARTZ CENTER RESTROOM RENOVATIONS, PHASE 2
The centrally located restrooms at the south portion of the Schwartz Center will be renovated similar to the Schwartz Center Admissions Restroom Renovations Project. Architectural and engineering firms were recently selected to design this project.
STEWART HALL RENOVATIONS FOR THE RELOCATION OF INFORMATION SERVICES
This project involves planning, design and construction to renovate Stewart Hall for the consolidation of Information Services groups campuswide into one facility.
SUMMIT STREET SIDEWALK EXTENSION
The campus sidewalk along Summit Street will be extended from the C-Science parking lot southeast to the bus stop in front of the Parking Maintenance Building to provide safe access to the campus for off-campus students. Included will be alternates to extend the sidewalk and provide lighting to Sieberling Drive, Summit East parking lot. This project is in the design development stage.
WHITE HALL PARKING LOT IMPROVEMENTS
Perimeter landscape and lighting improvements are being planned for White Hall R-16 parking lot. Currently in the construction document stage, this project will be advertised to open construction bids early next year.
WILLIAMS HALL LAB 223 HVAC IMPROVEMENTS
The HVAC system in laboratory 223 of Williams Hall will be upgraded. Currently this project is under design.
WKSU RENOVATIONS & ADDITIONS
The WKSU Broadcast Center is comprised of offices, broadcast studios, and broadcast support areas, including a media library, computer areas, and recording studio. This project will renovate spaces and new space will be added to the existing building to address changes in media, technology and the broadcast field. The level of funds raised will determine the schedule for proceeding with further development of the design and construction of this project.
Project information can be found on the Office of the University Architect’s Web site at: