Our view: A nicer place to study

DKS Editors

The next time you walk into the library, take a good look at the first floor. Come next fall, it will likely look a lot different.

Kent State will upgrade the library’s current look in order to make it a more inviting environment for current and prospective students. Renovations are scheduled to begin after the spring semester ends, and they are slated to end by the time fall semester rolls around.

The library’s renovation is just the latest step in President Lester Lefton’s plan to improve the look of Kent State’s campus. Risman Plaza is also scheduled for renovations, and so are several of the academic buildings.

The renovations center around updating the first floor of the library, particularly the lobby.

“The architect’s office is very interested in creating more of a defined entry to the building, something that is more up to date,” said Barbara Schloman, associate dean of Libraries and Media Services. “This, along with a face-lift, would provide a more welcoming entry.”

Upgrading the library’s look is definitely a good thing. The building hasn’t been renovated in 40 years, and it shows. The entry to the library isn’t exactly warm and inviting. Instead, it’s dark and looks dated. Some of the upstairs floors are even worse.

So it’s a good decision to make the library look nicer, if only to make a better impression on prospective students.

Improving Kent State’s campus appearance has been one of Lefton’s top priorities during his tenure. The president believes a nicer looking campus will help attract higher-quality students. Because the library is the most visible building on campus, it doesn’t make sense to leave it unchanged while renovating other buildings.

We also like that many current students will be able to enjoy the improvements. A lot of the planned campus improvements won’t be visible until a few years down the road, so it’s nice to know some improvements will be visible by August. A nicer-looking library might motivate students to study there more often, and that’s never a bad thing.

What we aren’t so sure about is the price tag.

Renovations aren’t free — and a lot of the time, they’re not cheap, either. The university took out $200 million worth of bonds for academic building upgrades, and the Risman Plaza renovations are expected to cost another $3.3 million.

Adding another renovation on top of those two is a lot to ask for in a tough economic climate. We’d just like to know how much these renovations are expected to cost.

We would love to see a better looking library and a better-looking campus overall. We just don’t want to see future students bear a heavier brunt of the cost than they should.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.