Students to fund renovation plan

Jessica White

Students will have to pay a $7-per-credit-hour fee starting in 2012 if Eric Fingerhut, the Chancellor of the Ohio Board of Regents, signs a $250 million renovation plan that was passed by the Board of Trustees today.

The fee will help pay off the bonds and will gradually increase until 2016, when it will stop at $24 per credit hour.

President Lester Lefton said the money will be used for an across-campus renovation — including the Art Building, College of Architecture and Environmental Design, the new College of Public Health and multiple science laboratory facilities. He also said the construction will create about 7,500 jobs.

The renovation plan is part of his excellence agenda to bring the Kent State facilities up to the standard of its programs.

“The students are paying for academic renovations,” he said.

He said education can only go so far in out-of-date buildings.

The trustees also approved the use of spare funds to go to the construction of a new student plaza across from Risman Plaza.

Lefton said the area will hold a performance stage on a long grass lawn. The platform will be surrounded by gardens, and a possible clock tower will rise from the stage. It will be some sort of “iconic image,” Lefton said.

The plaza will cost about $3.5 million, and construction will begin Summer 2011.

Trustee Jacqueline Woods said the final design is not complete, but the plaza may also cut off some of the parking in front of the KIVA.

Another renovation will take place in the currently vacant Harbourt Hall, which was closed as a residence hall in 2007 due to poor maintenance.

The trustees approved about $5 million to renew the hall. Once the construction is complete, the hall will hold the office of the University Architect, which is currently located in Lowry Hall. The former University Architect space will then go to the new College of Public Health.

Any extra space in Harbourt Hall will be used for administrative offices for the College of Public Health and non-student related business functions from the Michael Schwartz Center.

Douglas Steidl, dean of the college of architecture, said he hopes to consolidate the college into one building instead of the three it’s split in right now.

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