By RON SELAK JR.
WARREN - Ohio Gov. John Kasich's proposed $2.4 billion state construction budget includes $12.4 million for upgrades and repairs at Youngstown State University and other money for business and energy incubators in Trumbull and Mahoning counties, including funds to launch a facility in Warren.
The plan contains $250,000 for the Tech Belt Energy Innovation Center for basic equipment needed to acquire the ''infrastructure necessary to attract companies to the center,'' said Dave Nestic, TBEIC chief executive, regional operations.
''This is getting us started on getting that lab together,'' said Nestic.
The equipment needed for the downtown Warren location includes items for electrical, fuel cell and battery testing, ''those types of technologies,'' Nestic said.
The spending plan introduced Tuesday is a broad proposal to fund a host of community, school, park and prison projects in Ohio. Action on the bill, sent to the Finance Committee in the Ohio House, is expected quickly.
Like any bill, it is subject to change up to the point that Kasich signs it into law
Also included is $1.5 million for the Youngstown Business Incubator to begin renovation on a fifth building at the technology campus in downtown Youngstown.
The building will give YBI 45,000 more square feet that will allow for further growth and expansion of YBI's business to business software while ''incorporating our organization's move into the additional areas of additive and advanced manufacturing technologies,'' wrote YBI Chief Executive Officer Jim Cossler in an email.
At YSU, the funding would be used to ''help maintain and enhance the infrastructure of the campus, allowing us to extend the useful life of many of our buildings,'' wrote Ron Cole, YSU public information officer in an email.
The funding for the university includes $2.5 million for elevator safety repairs and another $2.5 million for utility upgrades and expansion. There's $1.5 million for building system upgrades across the campus and $1.5 million more for roof repairs and replacements. Another $1 million will be used for classroom upgrades.
Other funding for projects in Trumbull County are $950,000 for heating, ventilation and air conditioning repair and replacement at the Trumbull branch of Kent State University and $250,000 to equip the Tech Belt Oil and Gas Learning Center in Lordstown.
Broadly, the bill directs:
The administration estimates projects funded under the bill would create 31,000 jobs over several years.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.