Clark State Community College will receive $4,812,895 from the Higher Education Improvement Fund of the Ohio State Capital Bill as passed by the House and Senate. Pending the Governor's signature, Clark State will receive $2.6 million for the Rhodes Hall renovation, $200,000 for the Precision Agriculture land laboratory and $400,000 for the Performing Arts Center. Capital bill monies can only be spent on facilities, facility improvements or equipment. These monies cannot be spent on operations or salaries.
Clark State is also a partner in two other capital projects - $800,000 for the parking garage in Springfield and $850,000 for the Greene County Career Center’s Take Flight Initiative.
“Clark State takes seriously the state’s investment in our facilities, and we are good stewards of those resources,” said Dr. Jo Alice Blondin, president of Clark State. “We want to make sure that these investments truly benefit our students and improve their learning and experience at Clark State. We want to thank our legislators, including Senator Hackett and Representatives Koehler, Perales and Dean for their advocacy on behalf of Clark State projects.”
The State of Ohio's biennial Capital Budget, enacted in each even-numbered year, provides appropriations for the repair, reconstruction and construction of capital assets of state agencies, colleges, universities and school districts. In some years, funds may also be allocated for community projects of local or regional interest.
Clark State recently joined a consortium of colleges to collaborate, develop curriculum materials and conduct student-focused research projects that will be shared among member institutions. The primary purpose of the consortium is to provide students the opportunity to conduct meaningful, practical research. The new agriculture land lab will be a key component in this opportunity.
The five-acre agriculture land lab will be located in Clark County, Ohio. The primary research focus will be soil health, water quality, cover crops, remote sensing and variable rate applications.
“These projects will align with the mission of our national partners including the National Corn Growers Association, Natural Resources Conservation Service and Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education,” said Dr. Lawrence Everett, Clark State professor and coordinator for Precision Agriculture; director of the Ohio Center for Precision Agriculture. “We are seeking additional partnerships from Ohio and local organizations as well as local producers.”
Clark State students from the Agriculture Capstone Class were assigned a problem-solving project of developing a plan of action with budgets. The students recently presented their finding to the Agriculture Advisory committee during the spring semester meeting. Among the student recommendations were a focus on pollinators--especially honeybees--and the development of an education center for the community.
This agriculture land lab will support all nine agriculture programs at Clark State and is expected to be in use by fall semester of this year.
The Clark State Performing Arts Center in downtown Springfield will also benefit from the capital bill.
“The funds will be used to replace the dimmer rack and carpeting in the entire building, including inside the Kuss Auditorium,” said Adele Adkins, executive director of the Clark State Performing Arts Center. “All carpeting is original to the building, too. It has held up well, but the time has come to replace it.”
Adkins explained that the dimmer rack controls all the theatrical lighting for shows and performances; it is original to the building and the company who installed it no longer carries the parts to fix it. Additionally, some fuses have been shutting down and need replaced.
“This September will mark the 25th anniversary season of the Performing Arts Center facility,” said Adkins. “The building has held up beautifully over time and is still state of the art but needs some capital upgrades.”
The process of enacting a biennial Capital Budget, begins many months prior to introduction of a capital appropriations bill in the General Assembly. It occurs within the context of preparation of the state's six-year Capital Improvements Plan. This plan is updated biennially by OBM on the basis of recommendations it receives from affected state agencies.