Campus facelift: Art Building renovations



Carrie Blazina, Cassie Smith

This is the second of a four-story series previewing the major building projects

coming to Kent State, which were approved at Wednesday’s Board of Trustees

meeting. This installment focuses on changes to the art buildings.

What it is:

Diana Schorsten, senior visual communication design major, said the Art Building is in desperate need of renovation.

“Out of all the buildings that I have classes in, this is the most run down,”she said.

Amy Mitchell, a graduate student who did her undergraduate work at Edinboro University, said her former school had much better facilities.

“I’d say for being an art school, (Kent State is) a little behind on the building,” Mitchell said. “I think their art department is great here and they should have a better facility for it.”

John Crawford, dean of the College of the Arts, said art majors are not able to collaborate in the current configuration of the art buildings, which has students spread throughout six buildings across campus.

“They don’t have a chance to really engage with each other or work on interdisciplinary or collaborative projects — and the faculty (also can’t easily collaborate),” he said.

But not all students support the changes.

“I don’t believe it’s necessary,” said Brian McTaggart, sophomore art education major. “I mean, I like it the way it is. I like how complex and tricky it was to learn at first. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it.”

What it will be:

College of the Arts students will be working with up-to-date facilities when the renovation is complete.

“It will allow the students to work with more state-of-the-art equipment and facilities … so they really get more out of their education,” Crawford said.

Thomas Euclide, associate vice president for Facilities, Planning and Operations, said the school ultimately will use two buildings. One will be the Art Annex, and the other will be either Van Deusen Hall or the Art Building.

Whichever building is not used for the School of Art will be at least partially torn down.

“They’ll base the decision based on the final program of what spaces they need and how those spaces fit together,” Euclide said, “and then look at the existing buildings and say, ‘Okay, this is the most economical, this is the best way to do that project to get the most space for the least amount of dollars.’”


Total cost: $25 million, funded by a $170 million bond the Board of Trustees approved this summer. All bond projects are partially financed by the new university course-overload fee. Students who register more than 17 credit hours are charged $440 for each additional credit hour.

Kent State officials gave no further details about the budget breakdown, but Euclide said the university has selected an architect, and more details will be coming soon.

Building timeline:

Late November 2012: The college will decide which building — the Art Building or Van Deusen Hall — to keep.

Early Spring 2013: Architect will finalize design; construction will begin within a year.

The Art Annex renovation will begin “quickly,” said Michael Bruder, director of design and construction in the university architect’s office, because it is not currently occupied by classes. That, he said, will create space to move some of the other art buildings’ facilities into the annex, to which architects are also adding a third floor.

Contact Carrie Blazina at [email protected] and Cassie Smith at [email protected].