KSU to unveil construction projects Wednesday

Carrie Blazina

Students will get a peek into how Kent State’s future looks when the university releases drawings and maps Wednesday of its new construction projects in the Kent Student Center Ballroom.

At “Foundations of Excellence: Building the Future,” university administrators, officials from some colleges and officials from the Office of the University Architect will reveal and explain the projects.

There will be free food throughout the event, and students can stay for any length of time and do not need to RSVP. Kent State President Lester Lefton also will speak at 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.

“Now it’s your chance to see some of these buildings that are coming for the students who will follow you in years to come,” said Eric Mansfield, the university’s executive director of communications.

According to the Office of the University Architect, some projects could include new buildings for the College of Architecture and Environmental Design and the College of Technology, renovations to facilities used by the College of Art, renovations to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act and renovations and upgrades to other academic buildings.

The money for the buildings comes from a $170 million bond approved this summer by the university’s Board of Trustees. Mansfield said the bond is borrowed money the university got from a bank and will have to pay back over time.

Though the bond money is approved and the amount will not change, the board still has to approve the actual construction, specific designs and which buildings will be prioritized, which it is expected to do at its Sept. 12 meeting.

The projects supported by the bond are part of a $700 million “public-private partnership” to reshape the Kent area. The city of Kent, Portage County, the university and other public and private groups have collaborated on the partnership.

“As the university grows and the city grows and as the county grows, we all help each other,” Mansfield said. “So everybody has a piece of this.”

Mansfield said he hopes students and the public will provide plenty of feedback at the event, because the university is still pretty early in the long, expensive process of designing and constructing the projects.

“I hope people, especially undergrads, will remember that years ago we went through the same process to build the buildings you’re in now,” Mansfield said.

Contact Carrie Blazina at [email protected].