Strategic Financing Initiative Underway
Cleveland State is in the process of developing a five-year capital plan based on maintenance needs and the strategic direction of the University. As part of this plan, CSU has engaged an outside consulting firm, Sightlines, which was originally hired by the Ohio Board of Regents. The firm assessed our deferred and major building maintenance needs over the next decade, which were estimated to be $265 million.
We also are working with leading national finance and investment banking firms to develop long-term financial projections that will allow the administration and the Board of Trustees to determine an appropriate and prudent amount of capital to be raised by selling bonds.
In the next several months, we anticipate raising as much as $71 million for various uses, including deferred maintenance at approximately $26 million. The maintenance portion includes projects critical to safety and building reliability that total about $14 million. Other projects extend the life ($4 million) and enhance the usefulness ($8 million) of existing buildings.
We will also seek to refinance $20 million to $30 million of existing debt in an effort to reduce annual principal and interest payments. The current Ohio state budget bill includes a $12.7 million grant for improvements at Stilwell Hall that will allow us to move our engineering curriculum significantly forward.
During this process, we will continue to develop a plan for a new Center for Innovation in Health Professions, estimated to cost $45 million. This center would focus on health profession training and would be core to the strategic direction of the University.
In this scenario, the NEOMED partnership would contribute $10 million, allowing CSU to leverage NEOMED's investment and potentially provide an opportunity to secure a significant gift to support the building. The center would be located on the site of Viking Hall and house collaborative programming with the College of Science and Health Professions, Nursing, Engineering, Education, Liberal Arts and Social Sciences.
This capital plan is an essential step toward preserving our current assets responsibly and moving the University forward to better serve the needs of this region.
CSU Swings Open its Doors Again
Our first ever Spring Open House was a big success last year, and this year we expect nearly twice as many students, parents, alumni and community members to attend. More than 2,000 people have already registered for the event.
The Open House runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday March 31, and it is a chance to witness our campus transformation and learn more about the latest developments, cutting-edge academic initiatives and partnerships that are making CSU one of the top urban universities in its class.
This is an important recruitment event for CSU, which this year has the second largest increase in freshmen applications in the state.
Visitors will be able to tour our new and renovated residence halls, learn about financial aid, talk to academic advisors and more. There will be student-led tours, a campus fair featuring more than 60 programs, departments and student clubs, information sessions and special presentations in each of our seven colleges throughout the day.
The schools are going all out to make our visitors feel welcome and to help students find their path with CSU. For example, the day will include a Dance Company performance from their Spring Concert and an interactive chemistry demonstration in our newly renovated laboratory.
My sincere thanks to all who have been involved with Open House. Putting on an event of this scale requires a tremendous amount of work and a high level of coordination across the University. Please join us on Saturday.
Rocking the Class of 2012
Our seniors have worked very hard during their time at CSU, and we aim to send them off in style. My office, in cooperation with the CSU Alumni Association will celebrate their success at the Fourth-Annual CSU Graduation Party at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum Friday, April 20 beginning at 7 p.m.
The party will feature food, drinks, music, prizes and entertainment. It will be an opportunity to celebrate with fellow Vikings and network with alumni, faculty, staff and friends. I am very excited that CSU continues to take advantage of such a great Cleveland institution as the Rock Hall.
The event is free for 2012 graduating seniors, $10 for other CSU students and $20 for alumni and friends. There will be a free shuttle between campus to the Rock Hall.
CSU Technology Moves to the Major Leagues
This week marked an important step for Cleveland State research, when a second generation of experimental wind turbines designed by Dr. Majid Rashidi was assembled and hoisted to its permanent location on top of Progressive Field.
The move was a collaborative effort with the Cleveland Indians to showcase Cleveland State technology, while providing the ballpark with an additional sustainable energy source. With the new turbine in place, Dr. Rashidi will continue to collect data from his latest prototype and move the design closer to commercialization.
Progressive Field is now the only major league stadium in the nation with a wind turbine, and a CSU innovation is on display for millions of people to see in person and on television. Watch the wind tower during night games as it dramatically changes colors through a sophisticated network of internal lights.
For more information visit http://blog.cleveland.com/metro/2012/03/progressive_fields_wind_turbin.html
Raising the Bar on Radiance
With the rousing success of last year's Radiance - CSU Realizing the Promise, the fundraising goal for this year's event has been increased to $500,000. Last year Radiance took in $377,000, which provided essential scholarships for junior and senior CSU students in need, allowing more than 100 upperclassmen to remain in school and work toward degree completion.
The funds raised this year will be distributed strategically in scholarships throughout the university. Philanthropist and CSU alum Donald Washkewicz will be honored with the President's Medal, and I look forward to seeing you at this exciting event again this year.
The event will be Friday, May 11 from 5 to 7:30 p.m. in the Student Center Ballroom.
For more information visit http://www.csuohio.edu/events/radiance/pdf/Radiance_Sponsor_FORM_2012.pdf
Making Commencement Memorable
This year's commencement is shaping up to be the one of the largest in recent memory, and we are working diligently to make it one of the most memorable. Fall Commencement was such an extraordinary occasion, I think, because so many faculty members were in attendance.
Students and parents alike were overwhelmed in December when so many professors took the time and interest to wish their graduates well during this important occasion. Spring Commencement will also be an extraordinary time for our students, and we want to complete their experience at CSU with a memory that will remain throughout their lives.
I encourage all faculty and staff to join us for commencement and send our graduates out into the world with style. Graduating our students is the most important contribution we make to them and to this community. I look forward to completing another great year at CSU.
Commencement is May 12 at 9:30 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. in the Wolstein Center.