Renovations set to begin for Tri-Towers



Grace Murray

Kent State plans to give the Tri-Towers residence halls, including Leebrick, Koonce and Wright Hall, a face-lift beginning this spring.

“We did a lot of analysis of those towers, and there are a lot of systems that are failing,” John White, associate director of facilities and administrative operations, said. “They’re more than forty years old, and they have completed their life cycle.”

Residence services, which houses Facilities and Administrative Operations, in association with the Office of the University Architect plans to renovate Tri-Towers in the following ways: upgrading the centralized heating, ventilation and air conditioning system; removing the built-in wardrobes and flooring; adding carpeting to each dorm room; replacing the windows, elevators and hallway carpeting; repairing the outside covering; installing outside panels and repainting the rooms and hallways.

“Currently Tri-Towers has a two pipe HVAC system,” said Jay Graham, assistant director of architecture and engineering in the Office of the University Architect, “which means students can either have heat or air conditioning, nothing in-between. We are planning to replace the two pipe system to a four pipe system, which would allow students to actually individualize their temperature settings.”

In addition to the system renovations, White said there is going to be a new sky lounge, which will take the place of 13 dorm rooms on the tenth floor of both Koonce and Wright Hall.

“We’ll have large screen TVs in there,” he said. “There will be stations, where if they [the students] have a PlayStation or a Wii, they can hook those up. They’ll have study tables, areas for group study, individual study and much more. You’ll be able to fit over 100 people in there.”

Gregg Floyd, senior vice president for Finance and Administration, wrote in an email interview that the renovations would cost approximately $38 million.

“Revenues earned from the residence halls would be the source to pay the debt,” Floyd said. “As an auxiliary, residence halls are self-funding and [are] not funded by tuition resources.”

According to the May 2010 “College Planning and Management” publication, rebuilding Tri-Towers would cost significantly more than renovating the buildings, Emily Vincent, director of University Media Relations, wrote in an email interview.

“Based on documentation for Residence Services, Residence Services projected a cost of [more than] $80 million to construct a new facility with the same number of beds,” Vincent said.

With new buildings out of the question, Graham said he is happy to have the ability to update Tri-Towers.

“After doing renovations on the bathrooms a couple of years ago,” he said, “it’s great to be able to go in and finish the project. We’re working on a transformative project by providing amenities that aren’t there and are lacking.”

Renovations to the exterior of Wright Hall will begin in mid-February, with the interior work following during summer recess.

“Summer school in Leebrick will continue,” White said, “and Koonce is typically used for summer conferences and camps. We’re still planning on using the building for that, and Wright will be walled of where it won’t affect people as much.”

Updates for Leebrick and Koonce will begin in 2014 and will end, along with the entirety of the project, in December 2014.

Contact Grace Murray at [email protected].