Board approves campaign for new business building


0930 Business Admin building

Lydia Taylor

Kent State administrators approved an endorsement campaign to build a new home for the College of Business Administration at the Board of Trustees meeting Friday.

“The building we have now, (which) was built in the ’70s, is becoming overcrowded,” said Deborah Spake, dean of the university’s College of Business Administration. “We need more space for our students and faculty.”

Spake said due to an increase of students in the College of Business Administration, there has been a shortage of space in classrooms, as well as faculty offices. The college has transformed study spaces and storage rooms into offices for career services and advising.

Although enrollment in the college has gone down to 4,268 students this year compared to 4,372 last year, professors have to teach in nine different buildings across campus.

Faculty space is at its maximum capacity, Spake said. Some full-time and non-tenure track faculty members now share offices to make up for needed space.  

“We aspire to be in the top 100 business colleges in the nation,” Spake said.

In order to do that, she said the university needs an adequate amount of space to better suit the expansion of the college, and fit student and faculty needs.

The new building is expected to replace a parking lot across from Williams Hall on the opposite side of Summit Street.

The university collaborated with the firm Bialosky (and) Partners Architects, and concluded the three-story building will approximately be 145,000 square feet. 

Spake said an assessment of the current building in 2013 concluded a space shortage of at least 37,000 square feet. Another assessment done in 2015 showed the new building needed a capital campaign to raise $50 to 60 million to be able to accommodate all the needs of the college.

At this stage, the college has $10 million through the college’s fund balance, plus an additional $1 million from donors.

There are no plans in place for what to do with the old building once the new building is in place, but Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs and Provost Todd Diacon said he does not want to see the building go to waste.

“I would like to see the old Business Administration building transformed into faculty offices,” Diacon said.

Spake said that by the end of December, she expects the funds will greatly improve as they move into the campaigning process.

Lydia Taylor is an administration reporter, contact her at [email protected].