Board approves major campus building projects


Dr. Lester A. Lefton, Dean David Mohan and members of the Board of Trustees cut the ribbon on the Twinsburg Regional Academic Center. Photo courtesy of Bob Christy.

Carrie Blazina

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect Dennis Eckart’s accurate title and name spelling.

The Kent State Board of Trustees voted Wednesday to approve the building projects funded mostly by the $170 million bond approved this summer.

The board approved going forward with the four major projects, which are the science buildings’ renovation and lab addition, the art buildings’ consolidation, the new building for the College of Architecture and Environmental Design and the new building for the College of Applied Engineering, Sustainability and Technology.

Trustee Stephen Colecchi said in the Finance and Administration Committee meeting that the project is a long time coming.

“This really has been talked about for the past three years … it’s a very important next step for us,” he said.

Kent State President Lester Lefton said in the post-meeting press conference it might only be a few months before the first obvious signs of construction.

“There’s lots of pre-work that has to be done,” Lefton said. “I expect probably in six to nine months you’ll see dirt being moved and steel coming up out of the ground in various locations.”

The board also approved:

naming the Strength and Conditioning Center after James Harrison, a former Flashes football player and current linebacker for the Pittsburgh Steelers who donated $100,000

naming the Office of the University Museum Director after Gerald Schweigert, an alumnus who donated $1.1 million, the largest cash gift in the history of the Kent State Museum

in conjunction with the building projects, the university is complying with state law and reducing energy consumption by 20 percent by 2014.

The project, which officials have previously said will touch nearly every building on campus by replacing lights, roof repairs, window replacements and other fixes, is expected to cost $25 million. It will be funded by bonds separate from the $170 million.

-the election of new officers for 2012-2013. Jane Timken will serve as board chair, Dennis Eckart will serve as vice chair and Stephen Colecchi will serve as secretary. They will take office at the board’s December meeting.

-a new mutual agreement between the university and the city of Kent to share jurisdiction with respect to the police departments. The agreement noted that if there were an emergency, campus police may call upon city police for additional resources. Officials said that agreement came about as a result of “unusual circumstances” — like this year’s CollegeFest — and it will allow for double coverage in the areas closest to the university.

Contact Carrie Blazina at [email protected].