Student Center visitor lot to close for summer renovations

Taylor Kerns

The Kent State Student Center visitor parking lot will be closed from May 16 through mid-August, according to Michael Bruder, executive director of facilities planning and design.  

“The parking lot is going to be completely rebuilt,” Bruder said. “It’ll be closed the entire summer. It’ll start the Monday right after commencement and I think we’re opening the parking lot back up around August 15.”

The renovations will make the parking lot more aesthetically pleasing as well as pedestrian and vehicle friendly. 

“The asphalt is at the end of its useful life and it’s failing,” Bruder said. “The same is true of the parking lot lighting.”

The lighting in particular is in serious need of an update, said Lawrence Emling, manager of parking services. 

“A lot of the lighting in there has been spliced together numerous times. It’s by no means what it should be by today’s standards,” he said. “This is a long time coming.”

The Student Center lot was last renovated in 2012, but Emling said that project was a sort of stop-gap.

“It was kind of done as a Band-Aid approach,” he said. “You know, ‘let’s buy some time until we have a full-blown plan.'”

The Schwartz Center faculty lot and Williams Drive will also receive an overhaul.

“The road will now connect and go all the way up the hill to Bowman and come out to Janik, so it’ll for make a more logical flow of traffic,” Emling said.

The $2.5 million-dollar project is intended to coordinate with other construction in the area and improve usability of the lots.

“It’ll be laid out in a more efficient way to coincide with the Summit Street Project,” Bruder said.

In addition to functional improvements, the lot is set to receive a number of cosmetic improvements as well. In contrast to the gravel islands currently in the lot, some areas will be landscaped with grass and trees.

“It should make an ideal front door to campus,” Emling said.

After construction, the lot will temporarily lose about 25 spots, Bruder said. Once the Summit Street Project is complete, the lot will be reconfigured again to restore those spots and an additional “20 to 30 spots.”

Emling expects summer students to be minimally inconvenienced by the project. Hassles “should be minor, given the time frame we’re looking at,” he said.

According to Emling, demand for summer parking is lower than it once was and there are not many cars contending for the approximately 7,000 student parking spaces around campus.

“It’s a lot fewer than it used to be,” he said. “So many students now during the summer months take online classes that summer parking has become a non-issue for the most part for students.”

Taylor is the parking and transportation reporter for The Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected]