Campus renovation crew’s hectic summer is underway

Tim Jacobs

Kevin Houghton constructs a wall for a ticket booth as part of the renovations to Dix Station. Houghton says his job will be done in about 5 weeks if all goes according to schedule. David Ranucci | Summer Kent Stater

Credit: DKS Editors

Heavy machinery backing up and jackhammers punching through asphalt and concrete are a familiar sound on Kent State’s main campus every summer.

“We typically have two or three hundred projects at one time,” said Tom Euclide, executive director of facility planning and operations for the Office of the University Architect. “Anything from installing a door to renovating a building.”

This summer is no exception.

According to documentation from the Office of the University Architect, the university is spending just over an estimated $42.7 million in renovations and construction this summer, funded by a variety of sources ranging from private donations to public funding.

Mike Bruder, director of design and construction for the Office of the University Architect, said sources of funding vary depending on the project. For example, he said Residence Services and Dining Services fund their own projects.

Of the 38 construction and renovation projects taking place on the Kent campus and regional branches in the coming months, the most expensive are the new Roe Green Center additions to the Music and Speech Center, estimated at $13.6 million.

Bruder said there will be two separate additions – a new experimental theater space and lobby on the south side of the building along Theatre Drive as well as three new dance studios and support spaces on the west side of the building.

“One of the biggest things the project is doing is bringing dance under the same roof with theater,” Bruder said. “They’re in the same school, but they’ve been in different buildings for years.”

Funding the Roe Green Center project comes from a state capital allocation and a $6.5 million donation from the Roe Green Foundation. Bruder said they expect work to start on the Music and Speech Center from mid-June to early July, and the project should be completed by Fall 2009.

The second renovation heavyweight, at a total cost of about $11 million, is Oscar Ritchie Hall, in its final phase this summer. Faculty should be able to move back in by August.

“We’re finishing up at Oscar Ritchie Hall,” Bruder said. “We’re mostly doing the finishing touches on the inside, electrical devices and paving outside.”

Funding for Oscar Ritchie comes from a state capital allocation to the university.

Also, a new gateway and concession building at Dix Stadium will be completed by the end of the summer. Euclide said this is the third and final year of work.

“We’re on schedule, and it’s looking good,” Bruder said. “There’s not a lot to see yet, since there was a lot of underground and foundation work.”

Another project scheduled for this year will affect campus terrain in small group. Bruder said all of the group except Stewart, McSweeney and Van Campen halls are scheduled to be demolished in September.

Euclide said complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act was more expensive than a new building.

“For example, we would have had to redo all of the plazas outside to install ramps and install two elevators in each building to allow any resident to get to all levels,” he said.

Bruder said the demolition will not begin until fall because the buildings are currently occupied for summer camps and conferences. The cost of the project is $1.3 million according to an estimate from Bruder and it is funded by Residence Services.

Euclide said Harbourt and Heer halls may be demolished as well, but they have not yet made the decision.

Contact general assignment reporter Tim Jacobs at [email protected].