With 70 requests on the agenda, the Controlling Board held 10 items for further questioning during Monday’s meeting. That included a request by Bowling Green State University (BGSU) for $6.9 million to continue its academic buildings rehabilitation project. The proposal from BGSU requests money for the use of three companies: two from Ohio and one from New York. Jones Lang LaSalle, from Columbus, would be contracted for executive program manager services. The Lathrop Company, of Maumee, would provide executive construction manager services. The third, Perkins Eastman Architects, of New York, would be used for executive architect/engineer services. The executive team will oversee the renovations and adaptive reuse for several of BGSU’s academic buildings, which include University Hall, Moseley Hall, Hanna Hall, and South Hall. According to the proposal, additional renovations are planned for Eppler Hall, Olscamp Hall and the building that currently houses the College of Business Administration. However, there are also plans for a new building to be constructed and become the new facility to house the business administration school.
Sen. Chris Widener (R-Springfield) noted that he recognized the name Perkins Eastman and he knew it to be a well-known national firm but he asked BGSU Associate Vice President for Capital Planning and Design Steven Krakoff why the school chose them over other Ohio firms. Krakoff said Perkins Eastman will drive the efforts of space planning and programming in the academic space and continue the work of concept design in the buildings. He added that other Ohio firms will have the ability to carry out those plans when it comes to the implementation phase.
Krakoff said that Ohio firms will receive the “bulk of the fees” during the process as a whole. Wanting an explanation for why BGSU is going out of Ohio for the executive architect/engineer services role, Rep. John Patrick Carney (D-Columbus) asked if Perkins Eastman had skills that other architects are not able to do or if the firm was more cost effective. The BGSU associate vice president explained that it was “a little bit of both.” Krakoff noted that Perkins Eastman brought the experience of working on more than 150 campuses. He also said that the work that BGSU is expecting out of the firm is not common among other firms.
Carney said that he appreciated Krakoff’s response and understood the reasoning, however, he added that if other Ohio firms keep losing out to out-of-state firms like Perkins Eastman then they will never get to build the track record that BGSU was looking for. “I know that between engineering firms and architecture firms it seems like a lot of our state campuses are bringing in folks from outside of Ohio and they’re essentially saying — ‘look I was educated at Bowling Green, I got my engineering degree I got my architecture degree at Ohio State University and yet these very same institutions will not hire us to do the work,'” said Carney, who noted that these types of decisions may result in Ohio-based engineers and architects leaving the state to look for work elsewhere.
Carney also had questions for the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s (ODAg) request for $1 million for capital improvements at its Reynoldsburg campus. The representative asked why the funds for improvements were not included in the capital budget. Janelle Mead, ODAg deputy director, said that preparation of the capital budget occurred under a previous department director and when current ODAg director David Daniels took office he asked each division to examine their individual needs. Mead explained that the request listed items that are needed now rather than waiting for the next capital budget. Carney suggested that some of the items in the request appeared to be important improvements that should have been requested in past budgets. Mead responded by saying she agreed with Carney but that there were other priorities that needed to be addressed first.