Kent State Trustees Approve Addition to College of Aeronautics and Engineering Building
The Kent State University Board of Trustees approved an addition to the Aeronautics and Engineering Building, home of the College of Aeronautics and Engineering that opened in spring 2015, during the Board’s regular quarterly meeting held Wednesday, June 23. The College of Aeronautics and Engineering has experienced significant enrollment growth and requires additional space to keep pace with demands for expanding facility research, instructional laboratories and classrooms, offices and student collaboration areas.
The building addition will be 41,449 gross square feet within three stories and will include classrooms, instructional laboratories and research laboratories in a lower level; active teaching classrooms and laboratory/shop areas on the first floor; and cyber classrooms, networking laboratories and faculty offices on the second floor.
Design and construction documents will continue on schedule for completion in August 2021. Following design, a bidding and contract negotiation phase with the construction manager will commence and is expected to be completed for an October 2021 groundbreaking. Construction activities are estimated to take 14 months, allowing the college to take occupancy of the new addition for the 2023 Spring Semester. The university has budgeted $19.6 million for this project with funds coming from three sources: 2020 bond proceeds ($14.1 million), local funds ($4 million) and philanthropic gifts to Kent State ($1.5 million).
The Board also passed a resolution confirming that 2020 bond proceeds may be used to pay costs of the Aeronautics and Engineering Building addition as well as the Kent State Ice Arena/band educational facility renovations, the College of Business Administration building construction and other capital projects in furtherance of the university’s programs. Previously, at its December 2019 meeting, the Board approved that the Main Street Parking Deck project could proceed with funding coming from 2020 bond proceeds. During Wednesday’s meeting, the Board rescinded that resolution for the parking deck so that bond funds can be used for their greatest impact in projects that will promote strategic enrollment growth and directly support the academic mission and student success at Kent State. The university also determined that parking needs can be met through strategic realignment of existing spaces, leasing parking spaces available contiguous to campus and investing in additional surface lots.
University President Introduces One-of-a-Kind Flashes Go Further Scholarship Program to Board
During his report to the Board, Kent State President Todd Diacon shared information about the newly introduced Flashes Go Further Scholarship Program, a massive, first-of-its-kind new student aid program that focuses on getting more Kent State Golden Flashes to graduation, and beyond.
The Flashes Go Further Scholarship Program benefits Kent State students from the state of Ohio, entering freshmen through graduating seniors, whose Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is 10,000 or under. It also incentivizes all Kent State graduates to enroll in Kent State’s graduate programs.
Kent State’s Flashes Go Further Scholarship Program covers unmet need for all in-state entering freshmen, continuing freshmen and current sophomores on the Kent Campus whose EFC is 10,000 or under. These recipients will receive aid to cover the full cost of tuition, general fees and up to $1,200 a year for books, meaning these students can graduate free of debt for tuition, general fees and books. Current full-time juniors and seniors on all Kent State campuses whose EFC is 10,000 and under will receive aid in their last semester before graduation to cover the unmet need of the full cost of in-state tuition and general fees.
The program includes a $2,000 scholarship for all Kent State students who enroll in a Kent State master’s program after earning their undergraduate degrees, and it extends in-state graduate program tuition to out-of-state students when they graduate from Kent State.
Board Approves Establishment of Healthy Communities Research Institute
The Board also approved the establishment of the Healthy Communities Research Institute, effective June 23, 2021. Population health and related community health topics represent significant existing research strengths at Kent State. The Healthy Communities Research Institute builds upon the exceptional accomplishments during the past four years of the current initiative bringing together researchers from multiple disciplines, supporting campus community health efforts, launching pilot funding programs, supporting student research and hosting lectures and webinars.
The Healthy Communities Research Institute will provide infrastructure support for researchers and opportunities for collaboration across multiple departments, colleges and campuses. The new institute aligns with the university’s strategic goals to build a culture of research and innovation and to increase extramurally funded research.
The Healthy Communities Research Institute will be supported by a combination of university funds and external support, including sponsored programs and philanthropy. The administrative structure will include a director or co-directors with faculty rank in the appropriate academic disciplines who will report to the vice president for research and sponsored programs.
The establishment of the Healthy Communities Research Institute has been reviewed and approved by the appropriate college faculty and curriculum committees, the Educational Policies Council and the Faculty Senate. It also carries the endorsement of the vice president for research and sponsored programs, the provost and the president.
Board Establishes Center for African Studies
The Board approved the establishment of the Center for African Studies, effective fall 2021. The central purpose of the Center for African Studies is to promote awareness and understanding of contemporary events occurring in Africa through public lectures, policy talks and expert panel discussions. The center also will support and promote existing experiential learning programs, such as study abroad programs to Africa and student internships.
The establishment of the Center for African Studies aligns with the university’s core values to build an inclusive culture with active inquiry and discovery that expands knowledge and human understanding. Unlike existing centers and institutes, the new center will focus exclusively on contemporary Africa.
The leadership of the center will report up through the chair of the Department of Pan-African Studies and to the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. Felix Kumah-Abiwu, Ph.D., associate professor of Pan-African studies, will be appointed as the founding director of the center.
The establishment of the Center for African Studies has been reviewed and approved by the Faculty Advisory Committee within the Department of Pan-African Studies and Faculty Senate, and it carries the endorsement of the vice president for research and sponsored programs, the provost and the president.
Board Approves Expenditure Authorization for Fiscal Year 2022
At this time, the state of Ohio biennial budget for Fiscal Years 2022 and 2023 is under development by the Ohio General Assembly and Gov. Mike DeWine. The budget currently under development considers impacts to tuition caps, state share of instruction and funding through the Ohio College Opportunity Grant. In addition, Kent State now is engaged in planning and preparations for the coming year, and it begins to resume on-campus activity more consistent with pre-pandemic levels.
Given the uncertainty regarding critical components of the university budget at this time, the Board approved a resolution authorizing the president and the university’s chief financial officer to expend monies from educational and general and auxiliary funds beginning July 1, 2021, at the funding level established by the Board for Fiscal Year 2021 and expenditure authorization of total funds applied equal to $595,150,639.
The president will submit an operating budget for action by the Board when appropriate information is available and a complete operating budget reflecting direction and authority can be prepared. It is anticipated this action will occur at the next regularly scheduled Board business meeting in September.
Board Approves Special Surcharge Rates for Non-Ohio Residents
Responsible for approving fees for instruction and other education services, the Board approved the continuation of the five out-of-state surcharge rates, subject to any required approvals from the chancellor of the Ohio Department of Higher Education.
Reductions from established instructional and general fees as well as out-of-state surcharge rates are permitted if approved by the Board and the chancellor of the Ohio Department of Higher Education. Set to expire at the end of this fiscal year, the Board approved continuing the following five reductions in the regular out-of-state surcharge assessed to non-Ohio residents:
- An 80% waiver of the out-of-state surcharge rate that applies for students attending Regional Campuses from specific counties in Pennsylvania (Allegheny, Beaver, Butler, Crawford, Erie, Lawrence and Mercer counties) and West Virginia (Brooke, Hancock and Ohio counties).
- A reduced special fee of $10 per credit hour for non-Ohio residents enrolled in fully online programs.
- A special reduced fee of $10 per credit hour for non-Ohio residents enrolled in the English as a Second Language (ESL) program.
- A waiver of the out-of-state surcharge, not to exceed 97.5%, for students who have completed the two-year dual-enrollment program with the Pontifica Universidade Católica do Paraná (PUCPR) and now seek to complete a bachelor’s degree at Kent State.
- A reduced rate of $1 per credit hour, not to exceed $11 per term, for new non-Ohio residents enrolled in a graduate degree program (except non-degree programs or those at the College of Podiatric Medicine) who earned their undergraduate degree from an institution of higher education in Ohio.
The approved waivers will continue through 2023 Spring Semester and any summer terms that begin prior to June 30, 2023.
Board Approves Ice Arena/Band Educational Facility Renovations
In response to the growing program serving the Marching Golden Flashes and the Hugh A. Glauser School of Music, the Board approved the renovations to the Kent State Ice Arena that will foster strategic enrollment growth, meet critical deferred maintenance needs of existing university facilities and retain an important asset for community use.
The renovations will provide an expanded educational and rehearsal facility and contiguous field location for the Marching Golden Flashes, the Flasher Brass and percussion in the School of Music, supporting the recruitment and retention of talented student musicians across all majors. After a thorough review of new and existing facilities, it was determined that the conversion of one of the two interior rinks (recreational rink) would provide a strategic location for the new band educational facility near the marching band’s future outdoor practice field.
Under the project, the arena’s competition rink will be retained and will continue to see heavy use by community groups and schools. At this point in the planning process, it is anticipated that more than 70% of the competition rink hours will be used by external organizations while meeting university needs.
The Kent State Ice Arena was constructed in 1970, and while the facility has remained attractive for university and regional activities for more than five decades, it has numerous problems related to its age. This project also will begin to address some of the critical deferred maintenance needs for the facility, including a full roof replacement and public restroom rehabilitation. These deferred maintenance improvements will benefit all students, employees and visitors to the ice arena’s competition rink and the proposed band education facility.
The budgeted $6.5 million project is expected to take 18 months to design and construct with an anticipated occupancy in the first quarter of 2023. The project will be funded with reallocated 2020 bond proceeds.
Among other Board actions:
- The Board approved the Tuition Guarantee Model for the cohort entering fall 2021 at rates not to exceed those authorized by Amended Substitute House Bill 110 of the 134th Ohio General Assembly. The Tuition Guarantee is designed to provide students and their families a predictable and stable model for planning for the cost of a college degree. It provides all eligible new first-year undergraduates and their families the certainty that resident tuition and room and board charges will not increase during the ensuing four academic years from their first enrollment as degree-seeking students. Proposed rates for the cohort beginning in fall 2021 will be based on the calculation adopted in Ohio House Bill 166 in July 2019 as well as legislation to be enacted in Amended Substitute House Bill 110 of the 134th Ohio General Assembly.
- The Board approved the revision in name of the Department of Pan-African Studies within the College of Arts and Sciences to the Department of Africana Studies, effective fall 2021. The department’s new name more accurately reflects the current terminology used at peer institutions.
- The Board approved the revision in name and administrative structure of the Center for Comparative and Integrative Programs in the College of Arts and Sciences to the School for Multidisciplinary Social Sciences and Humanities, effective fall 2021. The school will house the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality and will oversee three bachelor’s degree majors, one master’s degree and 10 undergraduate minors and certificates.
- The Board approved the revision in name of the Medical Technology major in the College of Arts and Sciences to the Medical Laboratory Science major within the Bachelor of Science degree, effective fall 2021. The revised name more accurately reflects the current terminology used in the professional industry.
- The Board approved the vendor selection for student health insurance to provide health insurance and administrative services for the university’s health insurance plan, approving a contract that provides the same student health insurance coverage as the current plan with an 11% reduction in cost. In response to a request for proposal issued by Kent State, United HealthCare Student Resources provided the proposal with the best overall value. The university will enter into a contract with United HealthCare Student Resources for the provision of student health insurance and administrative services for its student health insurance plan for one year plus a university option to renew up to two additional one-year periods. The estimated cost for an initial one-year term is $3,266,745 for approximately 1,335 students participating, with the potential of two additional one-year renewal periods at approximately $3,266,745 each.
- The Board approved the selection for a prime food vendor for University Dining Services to provide food and related items for Kent State’s eight-campus system. The university will enter into a contract with US Foods Inc. – Premier for the provision of food and related items for three years plus a university option to renew up to three additional one-year periods. The estimated cost for the initial three-year term is approximately $20.7 million, with the potential of up to three additional one-year periods at approximately $6.9 million funded by Dining Services.
- The Board approved franchise agreements for the operation of on-campus dining operations for five years plus a university option to renew up to one additional five-year period. After review of the operations, it was determined that four existing franchise operations should continue on the Kent Campus. The university will enter into franchise agreements with Starbucks, Einstein Bros. Bagel, Auntie Anne’s Pretzels and Advanced Fresh Concepts (Sushi). The total cost of these services – estimated at $4.2 million for the five-year initial term and a similar cost if the five annual renewals are exercised – will be funded by Dining Services.
- The Board approved 2021 Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) improvements to address campus accessibility needs across the Kent Campus, including signage, toilet rooms and drinking fountain accessibility, and areas with limited or no wheelchair access. The project will address academic areas that will not be targeted for major improvements in the next five years. Construction is anticipated to occur during summer 2022, and the university has budgeted $1 million for this project with funds coming from the state capital allocation (Senate Bill 310).
- The Board approved the purchase of needlepoint bipolar ionization technology for classroom spaces. The patented needlepoint bipolar ionization technology has been proven to purify indoor air by reducing airborne particles, odors and pathogens as well as inactivating up to 99.4% of the COVID-19 virus while reducing energy consumption and lowering carbon footprint. As part of Kent State’s COVID-19 prevention plan, this technology has been installed in student rooms, dining facilities, athletic facilities, elevator cabs of five stops or more, and other locations. The university has budgeted $3 million to expand this technology to all classroom buildings across the Kent State system in time for the start of the 2021 Fall Semester with funds coming from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Funding (HEERF).
- The Board approved the second phase of heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) upgrades in Founders Hall on the Tuscarawas Campus. The project will replace a heating water boiler and air handlers with a more efficient hydronic reheating source and will continue the improvements based on a prioritized list of critical equipment while maximizing energy reductions. Construction is anticipated to begin in spring 2022 and be completed by fall 2022. The university has budgeted $1,045,955.97 for this project with funds coming from two sources: $500,000 from local Tuscarawas funds and $545,955.97 from the state capital allocation (Senate Bill 310).
- The Board approved the wildlife exclusion fencing project at the Kent State University Airport to provide a full perimeter fence approximately 16,000 linear feet in length, meeting Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and industry standards to prevent injuries and accidents from wildlife activity on the airfield. The university has budgeted $1.43 million for this project with funds coming from three sources: $1,287,000 from the FAA’s Airport Improvement Program (AIP) grant funds, $71,500 from Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) funds and $71,500 from local university funds. The university will proceed with the construction once all grant funding is secured.
- The Board approved the vendor selection for janitorial services. In response to a request for proposal issued by Kent State, Nichols (chemicals, paper and liners) and Brown Enterprise Solutions (miscellaneous supplies) provided the proposals with the best overall value. The university will enter into separate contracts with Nichols and Brown Enterprise Solutions for the provision of janitorial chemicals and supplies for two years plus a university option to renew up to three additional one-year periods. The estimated cost for these goods is an initial two-year term of $1.3 million, with the potential of three additional one-year periods of approximately $650,000 each year combined, to be funded by University Facilities Management, Residence Services, Kent Student Center and Recreational Services departments.
- The Board approved entering into a contract for undergraduate enrollment services. EAB Global Inc. will implement a distinctive and integrated suite of marketing and enrollment management services and capabilities to strengthen Kent State’s market position in Ohio and expand the recruitment footprint of the university to attract students at a national level. The purchase agreement will be for a total of three years at a cost of $4,198,731. The total cost of the agreement will be funded by the Division of Enrollment Management.
- The Board approved the vendor selection for printing requirements and related direct mail services. In response to a request for proposal issued by the university, HKM Direct Market Communications; Northern Ohio Printing Inc.; AngstromGraphics; DUKE Print and Mail Solutions; Printing Concepts Inc.; and Minuteman Press, Youngstown provided the proposals with the best overall value. The combined annual cost for these services has been estimated at approximately $1.14 million to be funded by various university departments. The university will enter separate contracts with the approved vendors for the provision of printing requirements and related direct mailing services for one year with the option to renew up to four additional one-year periods.
- The Board authorized the sale of 8.04 acres of vacant land located at 1257 Meloy Road in Kent, Ohio, for $59,000, which is equal to the appraised value.
- The Board elected the following officers for 2021-2022: Shawn Riley, chair; Virginia Addicott, vice chair; and Robin Kilbride, secretary.
- In a routine action required by the Kent State Constitution, the Board formally approved the annual election of President Todd A. Diacon, effective July 1, 2021.
- The Board recognized retiring Trustees Jasmine (Hoff) Bonder and Catherine L. Ross, Ph.D., with resolutions of appreciation. Bonder has completed her two-year term as the graduate student trustee, and Ross has completed her three-year term as National Trustee.
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Shown is an exterior architectural rendering of the Aeronautics and Engineering Building addition, produced by DS Architecture LLC, Kent State University’s consultant.