The Kent State Board’s Finance and Administration Committee will recommend a budget increase for building projects due to inflation as the Board votes a salary increase for some staff members at the next board meeting.
The finance and administration committee discussed these issues in addition to routine staff actions, management decisions and capital projects at Tuesday’s meeting.
Trustee Donald Mason said trustees needed to “make lemonade out of lemons” to fight inflation and keep college projects going.
The board will have to budget more money for several building projects to meet them on schedule, including Crawford Hall, the College of Business and Entrepreneurship’s new building due to open in fall 2024.
According to Mark Polatajko, senior vice president of finance and administration, the committee is expected to recommend a $9.5 million increase in the project’s budget originally approved by the board to $74 million.
“No surprises here, and we discussed that in August, but it’s driven by inflation,” Polatajko said. “Specifically, number one, labor shortages and rate increases and, number two, the cost of materials due to supply chain and availability.”
The committee will also recommend routine salary increases for unrepresented civil service classified staff, unclassified exempt administrative and professional staff, and unclassified non-exempt staff. The proposed action would increase pay by 2% for these groups starting Oct. 1.
“Each year, our human resources team does a great job reviewing all of our compensation structures…to make sure we’re competitive in the market,” Polatajko said. “This is an important process that the HR team undertakes to ensure that we retain and recruit our best talent.”
The committee will also recommend budget increases and approvals for the following capital projects: construction of the White Hall campus chiller, the College of Architecture design studio space at Beall Hall , the maintenance project at Cunningham Hall, the roof and ceiling replacement at Stark Campus Fine Arts and Libraries, the Kent Campus Improvement Project, the IT and Networking Project and the sports complex track replacement .
The Board of Directors will hear and vote on the committee’s recommendations at the September 21 meeting in room 145 of the FedEx Aeronautics Academic Center at Kent State University Airport.
Grace Springer is a journalist. Contact her at [email protected]