Our View: A new Risman Plaza sounds beautiful … and expensive

DKS Editors

How much do you value Risman Plaza? Kent State officials feel the entire KSU community values it, so they are spending $3.3 million on renovations that will give the plaza a new look.

A face-lift is definitely overdue, but is it really worth spending $3.3 million dollars on? In an economic recession, is this the most financially stable idea? Could we be using this money to increase students’ educational experience? How about scholarships, building renovations or technology upgrades? Could this major face-lift have waited just a few more years?

We understand that the university wanted to spruce up the plaza, because as President Lester Lefton said, it is the first thing new or prospective students see. However, simple renovations like more colorful landscaping, cleaning up the brick and replacing the picnic tables would have made for a cheaper temporary fix.

One thing that would really make a difference within the plaza would be to get rid of the giant water fountain that sprays passersby. It may have been innovative when it was installed, but now it looks old and outdated. If that would be too drastic for now, there is an alternative that could save the university a lot of money: turn off the fountain for a year. By keeping the water fountain off, the university could save a lot of money when the water bill comes around. Maybe add some weatherproof art installations made by art students on campus.

Do students fully utilize the plaza? When walking through the plaza on any given day, how many students hang out in the plaza? During the school year, there are few months that students even want to hang outside.

Officials believe the renovations will help attract new students to the university. Well, it seems like the current Risman Plaza is good enough considering the enrollment increased by 11.76 percent.

We understand the plan is already completed and underway, but for future renovations we would like to see more careful planning and cheaper alternatives, especially in times of an economic recession. So enjoy the new renovations Kent State, and please take advantage of the new and improved Risman Plaza in Fall 2010. It is being made for you.

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