Design Innovation Hub sparks safety concerns

Sydney Purtee

Concerns regarding active shooters and the safety of the new Design Innovation Hub arose during the Faculty Senate meeting on Monday.

J.R. Campbell, the executive director of design and innovation at Kent State, presented plans for the Design Innovation Hub which will replace the former School of Arts building.

Michael Bruder, the executive director of Facilities, Planning and Operations, took part in the discussion.

“It’s going to be a really active environment space for the students to see what’s going on,” Bruder said.

The presentation showed the intended designs and models of what the hub will look like.

The lobby area is shown to be very open and the sides are almost floor-to-ceiling windows, which sparked some concern about the students’ safety.

“Being from the field I’m in, I love the look of these buildings,” said Robin VandeZande, a professor of art education. “The aesthetic appeal is very high. We also live in a time that’s frightening, and we worry about active shooters and there’s a lot of glass and a lot of open spaces.”

Mark Polatajko, senior vice president of finance and administration, said that the well-being of students, faculty and staff is a top priority.

Michael Bruder said he previously did some research on what types of buildings are proven to be more safe when it comes to active shooters and other kinds of danger.

Bruder said he worked very closely with KSU PD during the design process of the Hub.

“Having more areas that are open actually is part of a philosophy called crime prevention through environmental design,” Bruder said. “When people are seen and can see things that are happening, it provides for a much safer building. Police are able to respond and make sense of what’s happening.”

The police are confident that the building will be safe, Bruder said.

Sydney Purtee covers academic affairs. Contact her at [email protected].