Campus Renovations

Explore an interactive map of possible building renovations on the Kent campus.



Click in the map to explore buildings that may be renovated in future.



Students and faculty will have better facilities to learn and teach respectively after campus-wide reconstructions to be completed in 2016.


Kent State will soon begin a $200 million overhaul to its main campus, marking the university’s transition into its centennial year.


Though details have not yet been finalized, President Lester Lefton said the extensive renovations will be completed in 2016 and construction will begin in six to nine months. Plans to revamp Risman Plaza are expected to be finished by Homecoming 2010, Lefton said.


The total estimated cost for renovating all Kent State’s nine campuses is $353 million.


“If Kent State is to achieve its destiny as a first-tier research university, it has to make the investments that are necessary,” Lefton said. “It will pay dividends to our students and future students for decades to come.”


Lefton said the university’s Board of Trustees will discuss a more specific plan and budget for a campus-wide reconstruction of the university’s aging infrastructure at their Jan. 27 meeting.


In November, the board approved the $200 million investment to update existing facilities and construct new buildings — the first major capital investment to the university in more than 40 years.


Plans for the renovations coincide with significant state cutbacks for capital funding at universities as Ohio continues to grapple with a struggling economy. Lefton said the Board of Trustees will begin taking out bonds for the project in about three months, but over time, costs will trickle down to students.


“We have not received the funds from the state of Ohio to renovate, fix and modernize the campus,” Lefton said. “We can’t rely on the state of Ohio — we have to build for our future.”


Michael Bruder, university architect and director of design and construction, said his department has participated in a maintenance study to identify the facilities that will need to be addressed first.


Bruder said given the state of many of the Post-War buildings on campus, the costs of the project will likely exceed $200 million.


“I’m sure the need is greater,” Bruder said. “We’re going to stretch it as far as we can.”


Bruder said roughly half of the buildings on campus were constructed during the 1960s — a time of rapid expansion and growth for universities across the country. After decades without significant reinvestment, he described many of the buildings undergoing “infrastructure or mechanical failures.”


“So when you build these buildings all in the same period, they all go obsolete at about the same period,” Bruder said.


Looking out of his office window toward an empty Risman Plaza, Lefton said renovating the campus is an integral part of not only recruitment and retention, but also the overall student experience at Kent State.


“We need facilities that will allow us to do cutting-edge research and cutting edge teaching,” Lefton said. “We’ve reached a point where we can no longer wait.”


A comprehensive list of which buildings will be renovated has not been finalized, though Lefton said the university will focus the project on office and teaching spaces, heating and cooling systems as well as technological advancements.


“We’ve got to take care of ourselves,” Lefton said. “We’ve got to build for the future. We’ve got to think strategically.”




Though a list of buildings that will be renovated has not been finalized, both President Lester Lefton and Michael Bruder, university architect said several areas of the university will likely be targeted in the project.


Academic programs, such as architecture, will be consolidated to a single facility. The project will focus on moving academic spaces to the center of campus.


Van Deusen Hall, The Art Building, Satterfield Hall and Bowman Hall will be subject to future changes.


Contact administration reporter Jenna Staul at [email protected] .