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YSU Housing complex delayed a year



Published: Wed, November 7, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



A midyear tuition increase is still being considered.

By RON COLE

VINDICATOR EDUCATION WRITER

YOUNGSTOWN -- A 400-student apartment complex that Youngstown State University hoped to open next fall has been pushed back a year.

"We will go forward," President David Sweet said. "We've just had some turns in the road."

Work on the $18 million project on Wick Oval was to begin in September but didn't because of financing delays, Sweet said.

YSU and Ambling Companies Inc. of Valdosta, Ga., which is developing the apartments with YSU, recently changed the underwriter for the bonds that will be issued to finance the project.

YSU and Ambling also are negotiating with the YSU Foundation, which has a $143 million endowment, to financially guarantee the project.

Increased cost: Because of the delay, the cost of the project would increase by nearly $3 million to finish the apartments by the start of fall semester next August, the original target date, Sweet said.

So, Sweet said, the university now plans to break ground this spring and open the apartments in fall semester 2003.

In the meantime, Sweet said he has asked YSU's housing officials to try to come up with 150 additional on-campus beds for student housing next year to partly make up for the one-year postponement. He said he did not know how that would be accomplished.

This is the latest in a string of delays for the apartment complex, which has been in the works for more than four years. The university hopes the apartments will attract more students to campus. YSU's dormitories have been over capacity for three years.

Tuition increase: Meanwhile, Sweet said YSU hopes to know by early December if a midyear tuition increase will be needed to make up for state budget cuts. The state is slicing 6 percent, or nearly $3 million, from YSU's allocation this year.

Sweet said YSU is looking at several ways to make up the loss, including spending reductions, dipping into university reserve funds and a tuition increase, starting spring semester in January.

Sweet said a decision on tuition must be made by early December, when spring semester tuition bills are mailed.

If a midyear increase is necessary, YSU will step up efforts to assist students with emergency loans, tuition payment plans and jobs, he said.

"I strongly believe that no student will be forced to withdraw from the university as a result," he added.

In Cincinnati: The University of Cincinnati voted Monday to increase tuition by 3 percent in January and again in March because of state cuts. Kent State University also is considering a mid-year increase.

Sweet said he also is considering a variety of cost-saving measures, including closing down the university for three days between Christmas and New Year's Day.

Some expenses, however, will not be considered for cuts, including campus safety, enrollment and marketing initiatives and student employment and wages, Sweet said.

Although the university might not fill some vacant positions, laying off employees is not being actively considered, he said.




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