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Rachel Vitello

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Out with the old, in with the new. Keene State College has a six year capital plan in the works to improve life on campus. Some of these capital projects include creating a business hub on campus, new turf field replacement, renovations for Elliot Hall and Joslin Hall, among other projects.

Capital projects are large-cost, large-scale plans the college creates and uses funds-based accounting to bring to fruition. Vice President for Finance and Accounting Susan LaPanne said that this money can be used only for specific projects and cannot be delegated anywhere else.

“What that means is there are streams of cash that come in from different sources. Those sources are just like a personal situation. You have maybe an allowance from parents, income that comes to you from a job and you maybe have other sources of income; that is fund accounting,” LaPanne said. “Sometimes those revenues come in with strings attached. You can only use this money for this kind of thing.”

For capital projects, those different streams of cash can include gifts and grants, KSC reserves, USNH funds, funding from the state or from the Higher Education Funding Authority (HEFA). The money that comes in for the capital projects is entirely separate from the college budget.

One capital project that is now being completed is the new Cohen Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies wing that was built in the Mason Library. A capital project that is currently in the works is creating a Monadnock business hub on campus. KSC is hoping that funding for this will come from the state.

“There was a discussion about one year ago in regards to local companies being interested in KSC developing a program in optics. We’ve had interest from five different companies. One of the things they don’t have is a workforce who is ready to join their engineering departments. We have a lot of potential didactic training that would feed nicely into optics,” LaPanne said.

Upon this came a desire for a makerspace. KSC seemed the obvious place to host it because of the students and faculty that can work with the corporations who would come on campus to develop the optics program. Monadnock Hall was identified as a potential site for the makerspace in about two years.

“I made a presentation to the governor. In his budget he recommended the full request for the Monadnock business hub,” LaPanne said. “It got struck down in the legislature. The legislature is negotiating with the governor to make the budget palatable to both sides. We believe they’ll find agreement with this. If they don’t, we’ve heard there are others interested in developing the Monadnock business hub.”

Other projects include renovating and updating Joslin Hall, Carle Hall and Elliot Hall. The hope with Elliot Hall is to make it a one-stop destination for student services that has an easy flow to it, making everything easy for students to find. Turf replacement for the lacrosse and field hockey fields is another project. However, the capital plan is not set in stone.

“One of the things that happens with capital budgets is that things happen, priorities change and the capital budget changes. This is not cast in concrete. It’s foolish to do something when an emerging need arises and it’s more important and more urgent,” LaPanne said.

In fact, KSC President Melinda Treadwell made adjustments to the original capital plan to make it more exclusive to student buildings and activities.

“I shuffled the capital projects a little bit last year. Hale building was at the front of the list. This building (Hale) has come entirely off and I’ve moved athletics and student buildings like Elliot, Joslin, Morrison, we’ve accelerated those. That was purposeful to make sure we’re investing in student spaces, athletics and maintenance,” Treadwell said.

Although priorities on campus are likely to change and there may be setbacks to some projects in the future, students can still expect to see changes and upgrades to many areas on campus. From athletic fields to academic buildings, the capital plan’s goal is to maintain what the students like about KSC while still keeping campus updated, safe and efficient.

Director of the Physical Plant Frank Mazzola did not respond to request for comment.

Rachel Vitello can be contacted at

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