Here’s how 10 Butler County projects will spend $23.8M of state money awarded this week

Miami University is slated to receive more than $20.7 million in capital budget funding for four projects at three of its campuses.

Countywide, more than $23.8 million is set to be invested in 10 projects with funds from this year's $2.6 billion capital budget requests. The capital budget is set to pass the House and Senate, and be on Ohio Gov. John Kasich's desk for his signature, by the end of March.

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Lawmakers budgeted the Miami Oxford campus’ full $19.52 million request for a $30 million project to renovate and modernize Pearson Hall, a classroom and teaching lab, which will directly impact more than 8,000 undergraduate students a year.

Around 5,100 undergraduates take a class in Pearson, 96,000 hours of laboratory and related research is conducted by both undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in STEM independent study courses, and more than 6,500 office hours are held by STEM faculty for undergraduate students seeking course and career advising, according to the school.

The capital budget, which was introduced collaboratively by the Ohio House and Senate, is set to invest $600 million in school construction and renovations and more than $480 million in projects at one of 37 Ohio public colleges and universities. Also, nearly $150 million will be used for economic development and cultural projects throughout the state.

Other projects receiving funding include:

Miami University Middletown

The school received its full request of $400,000 for a fire suppression system at Thesken Hall in Middletown. The $400,000 project adds a system to the STEM workhorse classroom facility, which improves upon the fire alarm system that was recently installed in the building.

Miami University Hamilton

The school received its full request of $800,000 for a roof replacement project at Wilks and Schwarm halls on the Hamilton campus, which share a common second-story roof. Approximately 2,900 students are in the buildings each day.

Schwarm houses the campus library and serves the community in addition to the faculty and students, and Wilks is where campus tours begin, which sees visitors daily along with hosting multiple community events.

Hillel at Miami University

Hellel at Miami University is set to be doubled as the building’s 4,000-square-foot building will be renovated and have 4,000 square feet of new construction added to the building’s footprint. The school is set to receive $400,000 of the requested $600,000 for the $3.07 million project. The funds not granted by the state capital budget will be raised from donors and community foundations across Ohio, according to the capital request.

Hillel at Miami University was established 73 years ago and had been at its current location for 44 years. The expansion will allow the school to “better serve the more than 1,100 Jewish students on campus, and the hundreds of non-Jewish students at the building,” according to the capital budget request.

Middletown Regional Airport

The Middletown Regional Airport received its full funding request of $750,000 to invest in developing dozens of acres of prime airport property.

Matt Eisenbraun, Middletown Economic Development assistant director, said in addressing the expansion of any industry park, such as the airport, “a community must be prepared to answer the fundamental workforce question from employers — where are the workers coming from? This is as important as the status of water, sewer, electric and fiber are to a potential project.”

Magellan Aerospace Middletown has announced two expansion projects over the next three years, which will increase its workforce needs by 40-plus positions. Cincinnati State Middletown is also preparing to offer aviation maintenance programs beginning with avionics and electronic component repair this fall, but the school will be limited in its programs to classes which do not need hanger space at the airport until space can be built to accommodate FAA education program requirements.

Sorg Opera House

For the first time in three tries, the Sorg Opera House will receive funding. It is budgeted to receive 25 percent of what it requested, and officials with the Sorg Opera Revitalization Group will use its $250,000 to help restore the historic opera house in downtown Middletown to a fully functioning, multi-purpose cultural facility that contributes to the cultural economy, economic revitalization, education and quality of life in not only Middletown but the greater Dayton-Cincinnati metroplex.

The scope of work for the project covers both the outer and inner envelope of the theater, and includes but is not limited to the roofing, rigging, plaster repairs, pain and some electrical upgrades.

The project is slated to be $4.9 million.

Monroe Crossings

Monroe Crossings is budgeted to get more than what it requested.

Lawmakers have budgeted $165,000 for the $330,000 project, but the city only requested $126,000.

Monroe Crossings is the city’s primary soccer facility for residents in the area. The park is 28 acres with 14 soccer fields of varying sizes. Over the last five years, the city built a concession stand, developed a three-quarter-mile walking trail and installed a handicapped-accessible playground.

The majority of the soccer fields at Monroe Crossings are located at the opposite end of the park from the existing restrooms, and there are no shaded areas for families and players at that end of the complex. The city’s proposed restroom and shelter project would serve the six largest fields at the western end of the property. It would also provide a playground for siblings to use during games while still keeping them near their parents.

MetroParks of Butler County

The county park system is scheduled to receive $350,000 to install a pair of synthetic turf fields with lights at the Athletic Complex at VOA MetroPark.

The complex has 24 fields with the largest known as the “center nine,” which are the focal point for major tournaments at the park. Two of the center nine fields are synthetic turf with lighting, which allow for outdoor play in almost all types of weather.

The capital budget funds would help pay for the conversion of two of the remaining seven of the “center nine” fields from non-lighted natural grass fields to synthetic turf fields with lights.

Champions Mills Event & Conference Center

The city of Hamilton is set to receive only a portion of the millions of dollars it requested for the $33 million Champion Mill Conference and Events Center.

Lawmakers budgeted the city to receive $1 million for the project, though the city requested $5 million.

Hamilton is pursuing the project in collaboration with the Butler County Port Authority and the Butler County Visitor’s Bureau, and it would “transform” part of the old Hamilton Champion Paper Mill complex into a state of the art facility, said Ohio Rep. Wes Retherford.

The $33 million project makes up only a fraction of the $150 million that will be invested into the Champion Mill Redevelopment Project in the heart of downtown Hamilton. A 750,000-square-foot sports, entertainment and event complex, known as Spooky Nook, will be on the west shore of the Great Miami River.

Butler Tech asked the state for $220,000 for new equipment as it seeks to renovate its adult manufacturing training programs in Hamilton. It’s set to receive $200,000 for the plans to update and expand two Precision Machining labs that serve the school’s students, according to the proposal Butler Tech.

This includes adding a 3D metal printer to train students in Additive Technology, support for new marketing initiatives to bring a larger number of students into manufacturing programs, and provide more College Credit Plus offerings allowing students to receive their needed credentials, college credit, and a high probability of a job with a local manufacturer.

The project would support the schools in Hamilton and Colerain Twp.

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