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Dependence on state funding in question for OU

          ZANESVILLE— With Ohio University facing an estimated $27 million cut in state funding, administrators and trustees met at the OU-Zanesville campus yesterday to discuss minimizing the university’s reliance on state appropriation.

          OU hopes to lower its dependence on state funding through the use of gifts, grants, local auxiliary funding and debt funding, said Stephen Golding, vice president for Finance and Administration in a presentation during the Resources Committee meeting. The university is also looking to lower the amount of deferred maintenance projects, Golding added.

          The calculated backlog of overall deferred maintenance at OU and its regional campuses is $480 million, according to a memo from Golding. “It is obvious that Ohio University will need to shift away from a dependence on state appropriations in order to realistically take care of the physical assets that we have,” Golding said in the memo.

          In May 2008, Steven and Barbara Schoonover donated $7.5 million to build the new Scripps College of Communication facility, which will be located in the former Baker University Center. In situations similar to the Schoonover gift, President Roderick McDavis said OU often looks for state funding to equal or match funds from the capital campaign to help complete the projects.

          “This is something that we’ve tried to communicate with the legislature. We think it’s important from a matching standpoint, that universities are relying on a match,” said McDavis, who is acting as interim vice president for University Advancement.

          OU will be looking to strengthen alumni donations during the near future, and McDavis said he feels confident about the 600 alumni prospects the university plans to contact.

          “There will be a lot of travel involved over the next four years,” McDavis said in an interview last week. “The strategy is to visit as many alumni as possible.”

          Overall, OU needs to strengthen its resources apart from state appropriation, Golding said during yesterday’s meeting. 

          “As you will see if you looked at the capital budget, the needs far outweigh the amount of resources that are available,” Golding said. “The list of projects have been identified, and those are reduced from what people would like to do.”


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