Ohio Controlling Board Approves Money for Three Kent State Projects
The Ohio Controlling Board has approved Kent State University’s request to purchase property located at 430-436 E. Main Street in Kent from seller GDR Partners LLC. The purchase of the property completes the university’s strategic acquisition of properties on this block associated with partnership with the city of Kent and the economic revitalization of the downtown business district.
No student tuition or fees are being used to pay for the property. University investment proceeds have been set aside for all property purchases associated with this initiative.
Kent State has identified areas of interest for the expansion of the Kent Campus for purposes of enhancing academic, athletic, recreational and residential programs, as well as promoting downtown revitalization through the extension of the Lefton Esplanade into downtown Kent. The Lefton Esplanade is a critical and heavily utilized pedestrian link between the campus and the downtown business district. The property located at the intersection of East Main and North Lincoln streets had become available for purchase. It is currently used for retail (a coffee shop and bookstore) and parking.
“We have been looking at the property for some time due to its strategic placement, which is surrounded by university property,” says Mark Polatajko, Kent State’s senior vice president for finance and administration. “When the opportunity arose this summer, we negotiated with the current owners and came to terms.”
The proposed purchase price of $2.2 million is within the parameters of the independent property appraisals. The current owner will continue to manage the property on behalf of Kent State for a minimum of three years and will transfer the rental income to the university. The financial returns from the rental income will help offset the net investment in this property.
While the university does not have immediate plans to develop this property until the completion of the facilities master plan, the property's location is key to the planning process.
The Kent State Board of Trustees approved the purchase of the property at its Dec. 7, 2016, meeting. With the approval of the state’s Controlling Board, the university will proceed with entering into a property management agreement pertaining to the property for a period not exceeding three years, commencing from the date of closing.
The Controlling Board also approved the release of $1.5 million to improvements and expansion of the Fine Arts Building at Kent State Stark. The project includes construction of an 18,500-square-foot expansion and the renovation of classrooms, practice areas and office spaces in the existing structure. Upon completion, the facility also will house two new audio recording studios devoted to the university’s music program.
The board also approved $900,000 for Kent State to contract with CriticalAire Inc. and Johnson Controls Inc. for the Liquid Crystal and Materials Sciences Building lab control upgrade project on the Kent Campus. The Liquid Crystal and Materials Sciences Building, constructed in 1996 through a state capital allocation, is home to the internationally recognized Liquid Crystal Institute® and the Chemical Physics Interdisciplinary Program. A new control system will be installed on the existing air-valve assemblies, saving the university substantial time and cost as opposed to installing an entirely new buildingwide exhaust system.