KSU trustees approve campus construction projects
By Doug Livingston
Kent State University trustees continue to reach beyond campus.
At its meeting Wednesday, the board passed resolutions to expand the university’s control of local property and to pave the way for “long overdue” renovations and “innovative” construction.
“It’s a very exciting time,” said Trustee Jacqueline Woods, who effectively stepped down as chairwoman. “We’re very anxious to get going.”
The board selected Ruhlin Co. of Akron to manage the $150 million, four-year construction and renovation project known as the “Foundations of Excellence, Building the Future.”
The company will oversee four primary projects, which include:
The construction of a $37 million College of Architecture and Environmental Design building, to be adjacent to the Kent State University Hotel and Conference Center. The $15 million project is expected to start in June.
The consolidation of the art program, currently housed in six campus buildings. A new building will cost $22 million.
The renovation of science facilities in Cunningham, Smith and Williams halls. The project includes a Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM) addition at a total cost of $56 million.
Construction of a building to house the College of Applied Engineering, Sustainability and Technology, currently in Van Deusen Hall.
The board also approved a nearly $7 million lighting and air- conditioning upgrade to Clark, Fletcher and Manchester halls, as well as the replacement of floors and ceilings in the nearly 50-year-old residential complex.
The university also will remove asbestos and renovate the 51-year-old Olson Center, which will house Undergraduate Studies.
Residence Services will fund a $2.6 million project to bring the showers and restrooms in Prentice Hall in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The MACC Annex, “deemed redundant and closed” in 1999 after the construction of the Student Recreation and Wellness Center, will be renovated using $2.5 million of the $170 million bonds acquired for campuswide construction.
Trustees also approved a $4.5 million renovation and expansion of the field house locker rooms. The 12,250-square-foot locker room expansion should facilitate storage for women’s soccer, women’s field hockey and track teams, all of which use the Dix Stadium/Field House complex along with the football team.
The university, which owns 39 parcels between College Avenue and downtown Kent, plans to acquire more tracts along Willow Street.
The board also voted to enter a lease agreement with the Portage County Port Authority, in the amount of $20,000 to $25,000 monthly, for 3.75 acres referred to as the Dubois property. The university could opt to purchase the property at the end of the 15-year lease agreement, which the port authority recently approved but has yet to finalize.
While the campus officials broker an agreement with the port authority, wrecking crews continue to demolish university-owned homes along Willow Street to make way for an esplanade connecting the KSU campus with the city’s $100 million downtown-renewal project.