YSU Board delays raise for Sweet
YSU's top administrators got 3 percent raises as of July 1.
By RON COLE
VINDICATOR EDUCATION WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN -- Youngstown State University trustees are moving forward on plans for a 400-bed student apartment complex but delaying action temporarily on a pay raise for President David Sweet.
"We need to talk about this a little more," board Chairwoman Eugenia Atkinson said after the trustee's executive committee met Thursday to discuss Sweet's compensation.
Sweet came to YSU a year ago and makes $185,100 a year, plus a $36,000 annual housing allowance and $7,200 annual car allowance.
YSU's other top administrators got 3 percent raises as of July 1. A 3 percent raise for Sweet would boost his salary to $190,653, a $5,553 difference.
After Sweet, YSU's highest paid administrator is Dr. Tony Atwater, the university's new provost, who will make $140,000 a year when he starts the post in August.
He is followed by Terry Ondreyka, YSU's new vice president for financial affairs, who will make $132,500 annually when he starts in August.
"The 3 percent is consistent with what [unionized] employees received," Sweet said about the administrative raises.
Other raises: Contracts for YSU police and professional staff include 3 percent raises this year, while classified staff will get a 3.5 percent boost in September.
The faculty contract includes a 3 percent pay increase this year. In addition, faculty at the rank of professor will get an additional $1,500, while associate and assistant professors will get an additional $700.
Meanwhile, trustees declared 15 acres around Wick Oval as surplus property Thursday, a step required by the state before construction of student apartments can begin.
In a complex real estate deal, YSU will lease the land to a nonprofit agency that in turn will contract with Ambling Companies Inc. of Valdosta, Ga., to build the apartments. That way, YSU can keep the debt off its financial balance sheets. Ambling is constructing a 600-bed apartment complex at Ohio University using the same financing model.
Greg Blais, Ambling business development manager, told trustees the $18 million apartment complex should be open for students by fall 2002.
"This is a very tight timeline," he said.
Quite complex: The complex, which will include up to three separate buildings, will have mostly two-bedroom and four-bedroom apartments. The complex will have study rooms, a computer room, an exercise room and laundry. Students will be required to have a identification card to enter.
"Safety and security is at the forefront of our mind," Blais said.
Monthly rent will be $430 per bedroom in the four-bedroom apartments and $480 per bedroom in the two-bedroom apartments, he said. All utilities will be included in that cost.
Trustees also agreed to spend $225,000 to extend university telephone and data lines to the new apartments.
YSU officials hope the apartments will attract more students to campus and help stop a decade-long decline in enrollment. YSU's dormitories have been at capacity the past two years.