Van Deusen readied for renovation

Samantha Laros

Plans suggest an “environmentally friendly” building

The Office of the University Architect and Bostwick Design partnership are in the process of planning a renovation for Van Deusen Hall. Rachel Kilroy | Summer Kent Stater

Credit: DKS Editors

By the end of October, the Office of the University Architect will decide the extent of the upgrades to Van Deusen Hall.

Last semester, the Daily Kent Stater reported the university was studying the current and long-term needs of the building, which houses classes in the College of Technology and the schools of Art and Visual Communication and Design. Van Deusen Hall has not been renovated since it was built in 1951.

In addition to keeping up with technological advancements, Verna Fitzsimmons, interim dean of the College of Technology, said the college has been incorporating the idea of sustainability – utilizing reusable resources and reducing waste – across its curriculum, and she would like the new facility to reflect that.

“We’d like to have a green building – one that’s environmentally friendly,” she said.

The new facility will reach the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification and comply with House Bill 251 reduced energy consumption requirements, according to the Office of the University Architect Web site.

The LEED is a building rating system that “accelerates global adoption of sustainable green building and development practices through the creation and implementation of universally understood and accepted tools and performance criteria,” according to the U.S. Green Building Council Web site.

“Earth is a closed system with limited materials, and we have to use them effectively,” Fitzsimmons said. “(The College of Technology) uses this founding principal as a reference point.”

Since late spring, the Office of the University Architect, along with the Bostwick Design Partnership has been conducting two evaluations: One regarding the schools of Art and Visual Communication and Design and one regarding the College of Technology. Mike Bruder, director of design and construction for the University Architect, said the two curriculums will likely be in separate buildings after reconstruction.

The evaluations are projected to be completed between September and October of this year. Upon completion, the Office of the University Architect and Bostwick Design Solutions will present the results to the administration, which will then decide whether to replace the building or to renovate the existing one.

Bruder said if a new facility were to be built, students could use the existing building for classes in the meantime.

One of the possible benefits of keeping the existing building, Bruder said, is that it was built with sustainability in mind. The building’s “saw-toothed” roof, with windows facing the north, allows a lot of natural light in without generating heat from the sun.

“The window area would provide good spaces for labs and studios,” Bruder said.

He also said some people on campus may also have a sentimental attachment to Van Deusen, one of the older buildings that dates back to a time when the university was first starting to flourish and grow.

“(Before replacing it) You have to ask, ‘How valuable is it to the whole campus context and the story of Kent State?'” he said.

Contact buildings and grounds reporter Samantha Laros at [email protected].