Board approves budget, start on foundation of new CAEST building


Lestor Lefton, President of Kent State University, Stephen Colecchi, chairperson for Board of Trustees Finance Committee and Charlene Reed, secretary to the Board of Trustees talk during a board meeting which approved a request to begin construction for College of Applied Engineering and Sustainability.Photo By Jacob Byk.

Madeleine Winer

The university fears the winter weather of Northeast Ohio just as much as the students do.

The Board of Trustees Finance and Administration Committee held a 10-minute emergency meeting on Tuesday to expedite construction of the new College of Applied Engineering, Sustainability and Technology (CAEST) before the onset of winter weather.

The committee approved a request to permit the issuance of contracts and start work on the building’s foundation.

”I’m excited to see that this building will be moving forward judiciously,” Kent State President Lester Lefton said at the meeting. “It really means we will be putting steel in the ground in the next couple months.”

The project is set to be completed in November 2014, and the committee voted unanimously that the project would not exceed $17,750,000.

The CAEST building is 55,200 square feet with approximately 6,500 square feet of unfinished space for future completion. It will house five classrooms, nine labs, 34 faculty and staff offices, a conference room, two seminar rooms, three meeting rooms and a student lounge.

Four additional laboratories will be planned for future expansion.

The building will be located along Summit Street set back from the Science Mall and east of the existing Mathematics and Computer Science Building.

The Board of Trustees approved a proposed new facility for the college in September 2012. The CAEST building is the first of many campus renovations the trustees approved last fall as part of its Foundations of Excellence, Building the Future Initiative Program.

The College of Architecture and Environmental Design, also part of the project, is gearing up for the construction of its new building, located on the Esplanade extension between South Lincoln and South Willow streets. Lefton announced in June a $5 million gift from John and Fonda Elliot through the family’s fund endowments and created the Elloit Studios for Design planned for the new building. The gift is the largest ever made to the college.

“We have been working diligently on this project,” said Greg Floyd, senior vice president for finance and administration. “We have a guaranteed maximum price and that price is contingent on our ability to operate quickly for the winter weather and costs associated with foundation work incurred there. We will move forward as quickly as we possibly can so these projects in process can proceed on time.”

Contact Madeleine Winer [email protected].