COLUMBUS -- The state Controlling Board OK'd Kent State University's plans to purchase a property adjacent to its main Portage County campus for $2.2 million.

The location, which is owned by GDR Partners, is located at 430 E. Main St. along KSU's Lester A. Lefton Esplanade, "a critical and heavily utilized pedestrian link between the campus and the downtown business district," according to documents.

The parcels house a coffee shop, bookstore and parking area and will continue that usage for at least three years or until the current lease expires, according to documents.

"No student tuition or fees will be used to pay for the parcel under review," according to documents. "University investment proceeds have been set aside for all property purchases associated with this initiative."

The KSU trustees earlier OK'd the acquisition.

Also Jan. 23, lawmakers released nearly $1.6 million for improvements to the Fine Arts Building at KSU's Stark County campus. Plans call for an 18,500-square-foot addition for KSU's music program, including the construction of two audio recording studios, according to documents. Other existing areas will be renovated.

VenDrick Construction Inc. of Brookfield is handling the work.

The Controlling Board also released $900,000 for a lab control upgrade at KSU's Liquid Crystal Materials Science Building in Kent. The project involves the replacement of existing pneumatic fume hood controls and other systems.

In other business:

Lawmakers OK'd the transfer of $2.5 million to accommodate planned spending to support Ohio's military facilities.

The move will enable the Ohio Military Facilities Commission to award $5 million in grants in the current year "to enhance the competitiveness of military and defense installations located in Ohio," according to documents.

Lawmakers appropriated the funding as part of the last biennial budget, with $2.5 million earmarked for each fiscal year, but the commission was not in a position to award grants during the last fiscal year.

The Controlling board OK'd $100,000 to contract with a Pennsylvania firm to conduct a "Changing Campus Culture Conduct Board & Officer Training" session later this year.

The event is aimed at combatting sexual violence on college campuses and will be attended primarily by members of public and private university conduct boards and hearing officers who respond to such incidents.

Lawmakers agreed to pay $28,800 to a New Hampshire company to replace the lap bars on the Skyride at the Ohio Expo Center.

According to documents, "The existing lap bars are in need of replacement prior to the 2017 Ohio State Fair for safety reasons. The existing lap bars are original to the ride in 1969 and upon post-fair inspection it was determined that for the future safety of riders that they should be replaced."

Marc Kovac is the Dix Capital Bureau Chief. Email him at or on Twitter at OhioCapitalBlog.