Still in progress: Architecture and Advancement on schedule, Art falls behind


The Center for Visual Arts on Monday, Jan. 18, 2016. The building has been delayed until the spring of 2017 after asbestos was found in older parts of the building. 

Skye McEowen

Kent State’s new Center for Architecture and Environmental Design and Institutional Advancement buildings follow the normal schedule to completion, while the Center for Visual Arts will be behind.


CAED is still set to be completed for occupancy July 2016 and ready for classes by next fall. The Institutional Advancement building was finished this past fall semester and is currently becoming occupied by the Office of Institutional Advancement.


The third project — the renovations and additions to become the new Center for Visual Arts — is delayed and is now set to be fully completed by next spring.


“We knew that the project was going to have bumps in the road – it was complex – because the original heating plant actually (was) 100 years old this year. (It was built) in 1916,” said Executive Director for Facilities Planning and Design Michael Bruder. “And so there was a lot of utility work that had been done over the last 100 years.”


One of the speed bumps the team encountered and had to deal with was asbestos, as well as handling old portions of buildings, such as the heating plant.


“Those did not significantly affect the schedule, but we actually have had one of the contractors in the project (that) defaulted (it), which has delayed us,” Bruder said. “So we were initially hoping to open the second phase for the spring semester … (but) we will not be doing that.”


Because of delays on the $34.3 million project, classes that had been scheduled for the second phase of the building had to be relocated to either the original Art building or other parts of campus.


Christine Havice, director of the School of Art, worked with others to accommodate the change in building plans.


“It’s the second part of the building, the south part or CVA south, that we had been hoping to move into over the holidays and still not ready, so the intention is that the move will happen shortly before spring break. But not all programs will be moving at the same time,” Havice said. “On the other hand, classes scheduled for the building are meeting in the art building, with the exception of the Art History I and II, our large format classes, and they are meeting variously on campus … we spent some time before Christmas finding suitably spacious rooms because these are classes that hold 150 students.”


The new Center for Architecture and Environmental Design, set to unite the architecture program under one roof, is on schedule and the overall layout of the interior is taking shape, according to Brude. The $47.8 million project is in the process of being closed off from the exterior. The building will include new studios, classrooms, administrative offices and research spaces.


Construction is finished on the new Institutional Advancement building, now called the Center for Philanthropy and Alumni Engagement. It houses Advancement Operations, Alumni Relations, Center for Gift and Estate Planning, Corporate and Foundation Relations, the Office of Institutional Advancement and the University Foundation. 


“We moved in the week before the holiday break,” said Vice President for Institutional Advancement Jeff McLain, “and so far it’s been a terrific move-in.”


Like the Center for Architecture and Environmental Design and Center for Visual Arts, the Center for Philanthropy and Alumni Engagement will bring previously separated, but similar operations together.


“What’s nice about this building is that for the first time, people from four different places of campus are now living under one roof. And that brings tremendous efficiencies and energies,” McLain said.


Overall, McLain is optimistic about the future of operations in the new facility.


“As state funding declines, private philanthropy is gonna be much more important to our future,” McLain said. “So it’s an opportunity to make a statement about the role that private fundraising has in the lives of the university and just so alumni can see it and so others can take pride in it and we can move forward in an aggressive way.”


Bruder also remains optimistic about the future of the two works in progress.


“I’m thrilled with both of the buildings,” Bruder said. “They’re looking great and I think they’re gonna be fantastic … I think the students are really gonna like them when they get opened.”


Skye McEowen is the opinion editor for The Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].