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5/13/2017 6:04:00 PM
Indiana State trustees approve $20.5 million residence hall renovation

Sue Loughlin, Tribune-Star

A $20.5 million residence hall renovation is about to begin at Indiana State University, and it is the fourth and final phase of the Sycamore Towers project.

On Friday, ISU trustees authorized Diann McKee, senior vice president of finance, to secure financing for the renovation of Rhoads Hall, with $16.4 million, or 80 percent, to come from issuance of long-term debt, and $4.1 million to come from cash reserves in the housing and dining system.

Hannig Construction was low bidder for the project, expected to begin later this month; it is slated to be ready for occupancy in August 2018. All state approvals have been secured, with the final plan of financing subject to approval of the Indiana Finance Authority and state budget director.

For the bond issue, “We hope to be in the market in early June” and close by the end of June, McKee said.

The first renovation phase of the Sycamore Towers complex, which dates back to the 1960s, was Mills Hall, which reopened in 2015. Blumberg Hall was completed last fall, and Cromwell is set to reopen fall 2017.

In total, the Sycamore Towers renovation project of the four residence halls will have cost about $80 million, which includes equipping, furnishing, architectural-engineering fees and construction, McKee said.

In other financial matters, trustees approved changes to its agreement with Sodexo, which has been ISU’s food service provider since 1989. The current agreement, which dates back to 2011, extended through 2021; the new agreement extends through 2031.

In return, Sodexo has agreed to contribute $5 million toward renovation of the Sycamore Dining Facility, which is in the center of Sycamore Towers. In addition, over the life of the contract extension, Sodexo would provide an additional $8.2 million as part of an “annual renovation fund” that would be available for other Commons [union] upgrades or replacement of capital equipment.

“There are a limited number of vendors who have the financial capacity to provide this level of capital investment,” McKee said, and the university recommended it as the best option for the university.

In a presentation, Brian Points of Thomas P. Miller and Associates presented preliminary findings of an analysis on ISU’s economic impact, both for the state and ISU service area that includes five Indiana counties and two Illinois counties.

Points, the firm’s director of research, said that statewide, “ISU is responsible for over 4,500 jobs created due to the activities of the institution. That translates into $172 million in earnings for citizens of the state.” Total economic impact [output] is estimated at $411 million, he said.

In the ISU service area, more than 3,600 jobs are created or supported, generating $143 million in earnings; the total economic impact [output] is $334 million, he said.

The university “is a significant pillar of economic development and economic growth,” Points said.

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