EGCC Gets OK to Buy 2 Downtown Buildings

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Eastern Gateway Community College can move forward with its plans to purchase the two downtown buildings it currently leases, clearing the way for needed improvements to the campus, its vice president says. 

During a virtual meeting Monday afternoon, the Ohio Controlling Board approved EGCC’s request to buy Thomas Humphries Hall, 101 E. Federal St., and the Healthcare Workforce Building, 101 E. Boardman St., for combined $9.69 million. 

Funding for purchase of the two buildings will be provided though long-term financing. According to state documents, “EGCC intends to take advantage of favorable market rates and will issue fixed-rate, tax-exempt debt that will be retired in 30 years or less.” 

Owning the properties will relieve Eastern Gateway of its lease obligations and will generate “substantial cash flow savings” annually.   

The Controlling Board approval Monday “gave us permission to go out and source the financial resources to purchase the buildings,” says Art Daly, vice president for Eastern Gateway’s Youngstown Campus. The college will seek funds from the bond market to finance the purchase of the buildings and to make improvements to Humphries Hall.     

Humphries Hall is owned by Providence-based Higher Education Partners LLC, which Eastern Gateway partnered with to establish its Youngstown Campus. The Healthcare Workforce Building is owned by the Western Reserve Port Authority, which purchased the former Harshman Building in 2018. It leases space to Eastern Gateway and is renovating the space.    

Eastern Gateway will pay $8.3 million for Humphries Hall and just under $1.4 million for the Healthcare Workforce Building. 

Although no new jobs will be created immediately, college officials expect to hire additional instructors as the college grows in Mahoning County.  

“We are grateful to the members of the Ohio Controlling Board for giving us the go ahead to take bonds to market, leveraging the state’s incredible bond rating, that will enable us to buy two buildings on our Youngstown campus and continue to make necessary improvements to our footprint throughout the service territory,” said Eastern Gateway Community College Interim President Michael Geoghegan in a statement.

Eastern Gateway has done much of the renovation work prior to issuing the bonds. Daly says he anticipates having the funds available to purchase the buildings between the middle of July and early August.

Top renovation priorities include changing the heating, ventilation and air conditioning at Humphries Hall, the sidewalks around the campus buildings and technology upgrades to the second floor of the health-care building “to provide the best content possible for students,” Daly says. 

Pictured: Eastern Gateway Community College received approval from the Ohio Controlling Board to purchase Humphries Hall (above) and the Healthcare Workforce Building.

Copyright 2020 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.