The university gets an improved welcome mat

Jason Clevenger

Old and new meet on front campus

The new look Prentice Gate on the corner of Lincoln and Main streets which cost $200,000 includes an expanded sidewalk going up to Hilltop Drive. The new gate include Kent State artifacts such as the university seal from 1935. Daniel R. Doherty | Daily Ke

Credit: DKS Editors

Though Kent State’s Prentice Gate on the corner of Lincoln and Main streets may bear a new face, it still retains many of the old parts as the reconstruction project reaches completion.

Prentice Gate, built in 1935, was dedicated to May Prentice, who taught at the University from 1912 to 1930. She was the first woman to serve on the faculty at Kent State.

The original gate was closer to Main Street, but the road was narrower at the time. Because of the widening of Main Street over the years, the gate began to receive road damage from salt and rocks from passing cars.

Michael Bruder, the director of design and construction, said the gate was difficult to repair and had to be rebuilt.

The new arch of the gate, which finished undergoing construction this semester, is basically identical to the original one, just moved back about 20 feet. It features many of the same pieces.

The wrought iron top of the original arch was cleaned and repainted.

The bronze emblem at the center of the gate that features the university seal from 1935 has been cleaned and put back in the ground.

Nancy Schiappa, the associate director of alumni relations, said years ago, when a senior saw a freshman walk across the seal, the senior would make the freshman clean it with a tooth brush.

The original dedication plaque was placed on one of the arch pillars, and a new one was placed on the other arch pillar.

“It’s a way to commemorate our history and tradition,” Bruder said.

Bruder wanted the new gate to be sympathetic to the feel of the old one.

“The imagery of the original one, to me, had a real classical university feel to it,” Bruder said. “We didn’t want to change that at all.”

In addition to the arch being reconstructed, a new sign in front of the arch with a bench on the back was added to the gate, which Bruder suggested could serve as a good photo spot for future graduates of Kent State. Also, the sign facing Main Street features a new lighting system that will be noticeable, especially at night.

The light fixtures are hidden underneath a cap on top of the sign, which is a design that has not been used on any other gates at Kent State.

Bruder said at night, the sign “looks like it’s glowing.”

The new gate cost about $200,000, which includes an expanded sidewalk going up to Hilltop Drive.

The unused pieces of the original gate will be stored for future use by the Alumni Association in the garages near the Williamson Alumni Center.

“We have some artifacts that we don’t want to lose. They’ll bring them to us for safe keeping,” Schiappa said. “Our goal is always to see them get reused.”

In the past, other pieces have been stored and reused by the Alumni Association. The arch that now spans Janik Drive between Bowman Hall and the Business Administration Building was originally dedicated in 1956 and placed over Midway Drive.

After widening the entrance to Midway Drive, the arch was removed and stored for several years before being placed at its current location and rededicated in 2006, 50 years after it was built.

Contact College of Arts and Sciences reporter Jason Clevenger at [email protected].