Hocking College Asks State For $6 Million

By
Arian Smedley - Athens Messenger staff reporter

Dateline
Updated Thu, Dec 12, 2013 11:20 am

Hocking College is hoping to secure about $6 million of the state’s capital budget for several projects, including the funds to transform the Inn at Hocking College into a business training center.

Members of the Ohio Higher Education Funding Commission, the entity that offers recommendations to the legislature on the distribution of the state’s share of instruction, will review Hocking College’s request, as well as the requests from the state’s other colleges and universities.

During Tuesday’s trustee meeting, Mariah Davis, the college’s vice president of administrative services, presented the college’s six-year capital investment plan, a document that must be created every two years. It includes details on over $15 million in projects Hocking Colleges hopes to complete over three bienniums. The projects mostly involve deferred maintenance projects.

“We desperately need this money right now,” Davis said. “We’re going on four years without capital money. It’s starting to have an impact on the physical plant.”

The current legislature is only looking at the first biennium request (2015-2016), which for Hocking College translates into nearly $6 million for six projects.

In order to transform the Inn at Hocking College into a business training center, the college is asking the state for $3.5 million. The plans include expanded facilities for the college’s culinary arts program. The project, which was developed in partnership with Tri-County Career Center, already has a $320,000 grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission for equipment.

Other projects include replacing the roof over Light Hall ($400,00) and replacing the chiller and associated plumbing in Light and Oakley Halls ($350,000). The institution would like to install a college-wide security system ($500,000) and upgrade sidewalks and exterior lighting ($1 million). The last project outlined for the first biennium involves renovating a space for the music program ($232,000), which is currently housed off-campus at Washington Hall.

Of all the projects outlined in the six-year capital plan, college officials are most excited about the business training center. Many have been meeting with elected officials to “sell” their plan, Davis said.

“I can’t think of another ornament to put on this tree,” President Ron Erickson said of the project. “It’s got all the ornaments. It’s a collaborative effort between the college and Tri-County, it has a grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission, it’s a terrific reuse of an existing facility, it has students at the center of its purpose and mission, and put Chef Alfonso on top of it. I can’t think of anything more exciting for (the commission) to consider.”

The Ohio Higher Education Funding Commission, which is chaired by Ohio University President Roderick McDavis, is expected to make its recommendations to the legislature by the end of the year.

Hocking College’s six-year capital plan can be viewed online at www.athensohiotoday.com.

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