School of Theatre and Dance breaks ground for new Roe Green Center

Lauren Crist

$6.5M renovations project to be completed in 2010, made

Credit: DKS Editors

The audience cheered as Roe Green, also known as the “fairy godmother” among faculty and students of the School of Theatre and Dance, waved her magic wand signaling the groundbreaking of, the Roe Green Center.

“The Roe Green Center thrills me because it connects me more indelibly than ever to Kent State University, which I love,” said Green, a major donor to the university, “to Kent State’s theater and dance students whom I love and to future students whom I may and may not meet but will surely feel supported and inspired by the state of the art.”

Last night marked the groundbreaking celebration of the School of Theatre and Dance’s Roe Green Center.

“You’re only as good as your school continues to become,” said Dave Burrington, a graduate of the dance performance program.

Roe Green, an alumna of Kent State and a member of the School of Theatre and Dance Advisory Board, donated $6.5 million in building additions to the Roe Green Center for the School of Theatre and Dance. The donation is the largest capital gift in the history of Kent State. The renovations include new dance, acting and design studios and more.

During the ceremony, dance students performed onstage wearing construction hats, carrying shovels to symbolize the groundbreaking of the Roe Green Center.

“I’m excited to come back and see where it goes,” said Melissa Knestaut, senior dance performance and therapeutic recreation major. “It’s great to know we have the support of people like Roe Green.”

Cynthia Stillings, director of the School of Theatre and Dance, said the emphasis of the project is on new learning spaces for students.

“Theater and dance students will be under one roof for the first time in the history of the school,” Stillings said.

Tom Euclide, executive director of facilities planning and operations, and Michael Bruder, director of design and construction, are directing the project.

“I think it’s a fantastic project,” Bruder said. “The front of the building will have the presence it deserves.”

Architect Malcolm Holzman of Holzman Moss Architecture firm designed the new addition.

Stillings said faculty, staff and students worked with the Holzman Moss Architecture firm to plan the Roe Green Center.

“They worked really hard last year to make sure that we got what we wanted and the way we wanted it,” Stillings said. “I’m looking forward to the synergy of all the students of the school being in the same building, and I’m looking forward to having really top-notch learning spaces and classrooms.”

The renovation will provide a new entrance for theater events, as well as a new entrance for the Music and Speech Center, Stillings said.

“The building will have a presence on campus,” Stillings said. “We are hoping that it will truly become an arts center.”

The project will cost over $13 million and is expected to be completed by Fall 2010, Stillings said.

Contact College of the Arts reporter Lauren Crist at [email protected].