The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

November 26, 2012

PSU to make presentation for help on building projects

By Andra Bryan Stefanoni

PITTSBURG, Kan. — Officials from Pittsburg State University will make a presentation at 5:30 p.m. today to the City Commission in hopes of securing a $7.6 million financial investment from the city to help pay for one of three planned expansion projects on the campus.

Supporters of the project, an indoor athletic complex and event venue, also made a public presentation last week at which two city commissioners, the mayor and less than a dozen other residents were present.

Eighty-eight percent of the $61.2 million cost for three planned projects at PSU already has been secured, with $24 million from student-approved student fee increases and $29.6 million from private donors. An investment by the city would provide the remaining 12 percent and would be directed toward the event center. The other two projects are an expansion and renovation of Jack H. Overman Student Center, and a performing and fine arts center.

Supporters of the event center say the project would put Pittsburg on pace as the economic engine for Southeast Kansas because it would allow for the recruitment of large-scale athletic and tourism events.

Economic projections by Municipal Consulting LLC suggest that all three projects could lead to the creation of 444 jobs and have an economic impact of $329 million, including an estimated $27 million in new direct revenues for the city of Pittsburg and Crawford County.

PSU officials say that if the trend of 1.5 percent annual growth in enrollment continues, the university is in line to top 10,000 students in the next 17 years. Current studies indicate that each student brings $10,000 to the local economy each year.

The presentation will take place during the regularly scheduled City Commission meeting, scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m. at the Beards-Shanks Law Enforcement Center. The session will be televised on the city-operated Channel 6.

Also on the agenda is a public hearing regarding a proposed loan not to exceed $1.8 million from the Kansas Public Water Supply Loan Fund, and administered by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. It would be used to finance modifications and improvements to the city’s water supply and distribution system, and to pay loan origination costs and interest during construction.

Action possible

AFTER THE PRESENTATION and the public hearing, the City Commission will take action it deems appropriate.