Six-Year Comprehensive Plan Approved By Trustees

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The university laid out and officially approved a plan for the next six years of the university, including major construction and backlogged maintenance to the campus.

Projects over the six-year plan are forecasted to cost a total of $795.6 million, according to documents provided by the university.

Ohio University President Roderick McDavis said having the third highest enrollment in the university’s history and a rise in retention rates were part of the encouragement for administration to go ahead with renovations and new projects under the capital improvement plan.

He said the amount of construction currently going on campus hasn’t happened since he was a student in the 1970s. The future growth of the campus relies on improving the face of the campus, McDavis said.

“We can’t get there with our buildings looking the way they look,” he told the board.

Renewals of academics and programs will cost the biggest amount in the six years, an estimated $281.5 million. Student Affairs/Housing and Residence Life plans are estimated to cost $226.2 million.

Deferred maintenance projects, facilities maintenance that has been backlogged to make room for more immediate university needs, will cost approximately $62.5 million and the university will pay an estimated $87.3 million for utility system upgrades.

Renovations on the list for the plan include Clippinger Hall, the Gamertsfelder Hall lobby, East Green domestic hot water supply, James Hall heating and windows, Scott Quad windows and the Washington Hall domestic water supply and restrooms.

The Clippinger Hall construction alone is projected to cost nearly $105 million, according to plans laid out by university officials. It will begin in fiscal year 2017-2018 with lab space and new construction estimated to cost $42.6 million. Trustees approved the first phase of the construction in a resolution on Thursday.

Design is scheduled to take place from January 2017 to March 2018, with construction conducted between June 2018 and June 2020.

Construction of the 189,000 gross square feet Clippinger Hall in 1967 cost $4.9 million and university documents say $10.3 million has been invested in facility improvements since then. That amounts to about $200,000 per year.

The university plans to acquire the first-phase money through different sources, including a state capital request for $10 million, century bonds worth $14.6 million and future debt totalling $18 million, according to university documents.

The capital  improvement plan was approved by the board with the stipulation that the group be “updated routinely and regularly” on actual budget numbers as they happen, Resources Committee member Dave Scholl said, allowing the board to review the plan’s priorities later.

Board President David Wolfort said he is confident in the comprehensive plan and is happy to see a reduction in the amount of deferred maintenance happening on campus.

“We think we’re paying as we go forward, rather than building up debt,” McDavis said after the meeting.

Projects are already under way that were mentioned as part of the plan, including work on roof and window replacement in Seigfred Hall, according to Joe Lalley, senior associate vice president for IT and Administrative Services.