Campus renovations are made of bologna

Mike Crissman

In case you haven’t heard, Kent State University has announced yet another expensive renovation project that its students will end up paying for. “What is it this time?” you may be asking. Basically, just a bunch of grass: $3.5 million worth to be exact.

The plan is to put in a green area that reaches from Risman Plaza to Summit Street. The grassy landscape will gradually slope downward toward Summit Street where a performance stage and clock tower will be built.

“But what about that big parking lot and bus route that currently stands in the way?” you may now be asking.

According to a Stater interview with University Architect Michael Bruder, Risman Drive and about 25 to 50 of the 400 parking spaces in the visitor’s lot will be taken out to make way for the proposed project.

Luckily, the university still plans on using that big, shiny new bus stop that they spent so much money on over the summer. Bruder and company are working out a way to convert the intersection of Summit Street and Risman Drive, which PARTA buses currently use as an exit only, into a big entrance-exit for both the buses and visitor parking.

Construction on the project will begin next spring and finish by the start of next school year. The tuition-paying student outrage, however, begins right here, right now.

College students are poor, as you know. The Bursar’s office is always hounding us for some coin, we pay hundreds of dollars for textbooks we hardly read and we’re knee-deep in student loan debt.

Kent State raised our tuition 3.5 percent this semester. Starting in 2012, we’ll have to pay $7 for every credit hour we’re enrolled in. By 2016, the fee will increase to $24 per credit hour. That’s an extra $720 in fees per year for a student taking 15-credit-hour semesters.

The university just got done spending millions on renovations over the summer. Now it’s seeking an additional $210 million in bonds for more renovations. As usual, they’re expecting us to foot the bill.

That’s a lot of money and a little unreasonable if you ask me. It’s true that most of that $210 million will pay for things Kent State actually needs: upgrades to old buildings, etc.

However, it’s the things that aren’t immediate needs, like building a grassy knoll at the front of campus, that are drawing criticism among the student ranks.

With the economy as weak as it is and students as poor as they are, the university is in no condition to be planning unnecessary renovation projects that are solely being done for aesthetic appeal. It’s not needed. As a matter of fact, it’s nonsense.

Mike Crissman is a sophomore newspaper journalism major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].