One phase of budget cuts at the University of Akron is over, at least as far as a statement from University President Dr. Scott Scarborough is concerned. He acknowledges the pain caused but has noted the situation was dire with a massive $60 million dollar defecit first identified. The furor over belt-tightening, however, is getting more fuel to the fire over costs renovating the President's residence.
By contract, the University President is required to live in the home at 465 Burning Tree Drive, purchased in 1999 at a cost of $850,000 in a neighborhood marked by large homes and wealthy neighbors. The University maintained the home needed repairs and renovations left behind after Dr. Luis Proenza's departure after 15 years in the home, and also cited allergies suffered by Scarborough's family that prevented them from fully moving in. The family had been staying at a local hotel at a reported cost of $25,000 while repairs and renovations were being made. The Scarborough's moved into the home in January, according to the report.
The family provided their own furniture for their living quarters on the second floor of the home; the first floor is used for entertaining and meetings and more public use.
The new report from Northeast Ohio Media Group shows the costs of repairing the home -- with a property valuation now listed at just over $733,000 dollars -- is actually $950,000, more than the home is worth. The report notes some of the work includes renovations and repairs from University of Akron construction employees who were part of layoffs proposed by the Administration and approved by the Board of Trustees earlier this week in decisions that sidelined 161 employees and abolished 213 positions from the University's budget.
Among the items going into renovations: a modernized first floor bathroom at a cost of $40,000 and more than $141.000 for furnishings and decorations including window treatments.
In contrast, a report by student media at Kent State University in November 2014 compared the various perks other colleges and universities provided their Presidents. Kent State's Beverly Warren lives in a home built by her predecessor, Dr. Lester Lefton, and KSU pays an annual lease of $56,000 annually on a deal extending to 2033. Youngstown State University President Jim Tressel, who was a finalist for the Akron job but criticized by faculty for not having a doctorate, lives in Pollock House, an 1863 mansion gifted to the University in 1950.
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