Board of Trustees approves renovations to College of Aeronautics and Engineering building, Ice Arena, other capital projects


The Kent State Board of Trustees met in-person on Wednesday June 23, 2021. The meeting was broadcasted virtually via Boxcast. 

Raygene English Reporter

The university will move forward with plans for an addition to the College of Aeronautics and Engineering Building, as approved by the Board of Trustees in an in-person meeting broadcasted virtually Wednesday.

The new Aeronautics and Engineering Building addition will include classrooms, instructional and research facilities in the lower level of the building, active teaching classrooms and laboratory areas on the first floor and cyber classrooms and faculty offices located on the second floor.  

“The expansion of the college’s facilities on campus will allow the college and Kent State to address this need to educate and prepare aeronautics and engineering students to fill this gap in the industry for years to come,” stated a university press release published Wednesday. 

With the continuous rising enrollment, with a 52% increase in 2019 and a 7% growth collegewide, the expansion of the college’s new facilities will allow room for more growth in enrollment and knowledge, according to the press release.

Groundbreaking on the new addition to the College of Aeronautics and Engineering Building is expected to take place this fall in October.

The Board of Trustees also approved the renovation of the Kent State Ice Arena, to aid the expansion of the Marching Golden Flashes. The project will provide a rehearsal facility and a field location for the Marching Golden Flashes and support the recruitment and retention of all student musicians across all majors in the School of Music, according to the press release.

The budget for this project is $6.5 million. The renovation is expected to take up to 18 months to design and construct with an anticipation of being ready by 2023. The project will be funded with reallocations using the 2020 bond proceeds.

Trustee Stephen Perry noted that reallocated funds from 2020 bond proceeds will be used to pay for the Aeronautics and Engineering Building addition as well as the Kent State Ice Arena facility renovations, the College of Business Administration building construction and other upcoming capital projects.

The Board also approved the motion to move forward with plans to establish the Center for African Studies and the Healthy Communities Research Institute.

The Center for African Studies will focus on contemporary African events and support experiential learning programs such as study abroad. The Healthy Communities Research Institute will create a collaborative environment for researchers and support student learning through lecturers and webinars.  

“The establishment of the Center for African Studies aligns with the university’s core values to build an inclusive culture with active inquiry and discovery that expands knowledge and human understanding,” the press release stated. “The new [Healthy Communities Research] institute aligns with the university’s strategic goals to build a culture of research and innovation and to increase extramurally funded research.”

Although the university budget for fiscal years 2022 and 2023 is still under development by Gov. Mike DeWine and the Ohio General Assembly, the board made several approvals relating to university funds.

The Board of Trustees approved a resolution authorizing President Diacon and Mark Polatajko as the university’s chief financial officer to expend money from educational and general and auxiliary funds beginning July 1, 2021. The funding level established by the Board for Fiscal Year 2021 and expenditure authorization of total funds applied equal to $595,150,639.

“The president will submit an operating budget for action by the Board when appropriate information is available and a complete operating budget reflecting direction and authority can be prepared,” the press release stated. “It is anticipated this action will occur at the next regularly scheduled Board business meeting in September.”

The Board approved the Tuition Guarantee Model the fall 2021 cohort at rates not to exceed what was authorized previously by the Amended Substitute House Bill 110 of the 134th Ohio General Assembly. 

The Tuition Guarantee is created to give students and their families a predictable and stable model for planning for the cost of a college degree, keeping the cost of tuition the same for all of their college experience, according to the press release.

Other topics discussed and approved by board members included:

  • The continuation of the five out-of-state surcharge rates that are subject to any required approvals from Randy Gardner, the chancellor of the Ohio Department of Higher Education, along with the reduction waivers that will continue through 2023 Spring Semester and any summer terms that will begin prior to June 30, 2023.

  • The wildlife exclusion fencing project at the Kent State University Airport to provide a full perimeter fence that will meet the Federal Aviation Administration and industry standards to prevent injuries and accidents around the wildlife activity on the airfield. 

  • The renaming of the Department of Pan-African Studies to the Department of Africana Studies, effective fall 2021.

  • The renaming of the Center for Comparative and Integrative Programs to the School for Multidisciplinary Social Sciences and Humanities, effective fall 2021.

  • The renaming of the Medical Technology major to the Medical Laboratory Science major, effective fall 2021.

  • The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) improvement project to address accessibility concerns across Kent State’s campuses, including signage, restroom and drinking fountain accessibility and renovation of areas with limited wheelchair access. Necessary construction will begin summer 2022.

  • The continuation of the university franchise agreement with Starbucks, Einstein Bros. Bagel, Auntie Anne’s Pretzels and Advanced Fresh Concepts (Sushi). The cost will be funded by University Dining Service revenue.

  • The selection of a U.S. Foods Inc. as the vendor for University Dining Services to provide food and other related items for Kent State’s eight-campus system.

  • The selection of United HealthCare Student Resources to provide health insurance and administrative services. The health insurance approval contract provides the same student health insurance coverage as the current plan, but will have a reduced cost of 11%.

  • The selection of EAB Global Inc. to assist in university retention by providing marketing and enrollment services across Kent State’s campuses.

  • The selection of Nichols and Brown Enterprise Solutions to provide janitorial supplies. 

  • The selection of HKM Direct Market Communications, Northern Ohio Printing Inc., Angstrom Graphics, DUKE Print and Mail Solutions, Printing Concepts Inc. and Minuteman Press, Youngstown, to provide printing and mailing services across the Kent campuses.

  • The purchase of needlepoint bipolar ionization technology to assist in the purification of indoor air and limit the spread of COVID-19 in classrooms, elevator cabs and dining and athletic facilities.

  • The second phase of HVAC upgrades in Founders Hall on the Tuscarawas Campus to replace the water boiler and air handlers with a more efficient source.

The meeting ended with a vote to approve the reelection of Chair Shawn Riley, Vice Chair Virginia Addicott, Secretary Robin Kilbride and President Diacon, along with the recognition of members of faculty who were in attendance, including Dean of the College of the Arts John Crawford-Spinelli and Vice President for Research and Sponsored Programs Paul DiCorleto.

The board also recognized outgoing board members, Jasmine Bonder and Katherine Ross, along with Mary Parker, the outgoing vice president for enrollment management.

Raygene English is a reporter. Contact her at [email protected].