Salem’s new building brings campus to city

Michelle Moore


Credit: DKS Editors

The Salem campus has found a permanent home for its Workforce Development and Continuing Studies Offices, as well as a home for a few community non-profit organizations.

In Fall 2006, the campus bought the former Salem Middle School and converted the building into the Kent State University City Center.

Salem campus dean Jeff Nolte said the purchase is important to Kent State for a few reasons.

“There wasn’t a community feel with the campus,” he said.

Nolte said the community did not see the campus as a part of Salem, even though it’s only three miles from the city.

So when the building became available, he took it as an opportunity to be right in the middle of downtown.

Also, Nolte said some other organizations in the community were looking for “homes.” Since the campus didn’t need the whole building, extra space could be rented to these organizations.

“So, it was a perfect fit,” he said.

The Salem campus purchased the building for $50,000. It was appraised for $240,000. Nolte said the city accepted the $50,000 offer because the building would remain an educational facility.

The City Center houses the Salem campus’ Workforce Development and Continuing Studies Offices and Storybook Museum on the second floor, the YWCA and Red Cross on the first floor and the Hanna Mullins School of Nursing on the third floor.

Diane Kloss, director of workforce development and continuing studies, said the plan was to offer both credit and non-credit courses at the building.

Professional development, personal enrichment, technology and college prep are some of the non-credit categories that have open enrollment where anyone from the community can sign up, even though they’re directed toward developing professional skills.

Kloss said the City Center thinks of itself as its own community educational center.

“There’s a really nice mixture of organizations here in the building,” she said. “We really try to support the idea that we’re doing professional development training and education here at the building.”

The City Center building also has a 900-seat auditorium. The campus held its first graduation in the auditorium in Spring 2007. The auditorium will also hold the upcoming Salem mayoral debate.

Nolte hopes the campus will be able to hold some high profile concerts, as well as a distinguished speaker series in the future.

“We have not taken advantage of them because we just haven’t had a venue for them to come and perform,” he said.

Patricia Book, vice president for regional development, said it would be great if the campus would be able to hold a speaker series comparable to the Stark and Tuscarawas campuses that bring in “such fabulous speakers.”

With the auditorium, the Salem campus is also looking to expand its course offerings with credit courses in music, theater and art.

“They’re (Salem campus) very good at assessing what student demand will be and whether the program makes sense for their community contacts,” Book said.

Nolte said he is pleased that the campus was able to get the building and keep it in the community as an educational institution.

“The best is yet to come with that building for us,” he said.

Contact regional campuses reporter Michelle Moore at [email protected].