Hillel to relocate to campus

Heather Scarlett

As of Summer 2008, Kent State Hillel will be moving from its current 1,600-square-foot building to a new 10,000-square-foot structure on the corner of Terrace Drive and Summit Street.

Jennifer Chestnut, director of Kent State Hillel, said, “Our (current) building is an 80-year-old structure that is not acceptable to people with disabilities, and it in no way meets the needs of our student community.”

Beth Bloom, sophomore integrated language arts major and Hillel student leader, said at times in the current building there are four to five people sharing three offices.

“We will be the central headquarters for all things Jewish on the Kent State campus,” Chestnut said of the new location.

The project will cost a total of $3.3-$3.5 million, she said, and there is no university funding for the project.

Hillel has a $2 million allocation from the Jewish Community Federation of Cleveland, which is two-thirds of the funding, Chestnut said. The rest of the funds come from private donations and the State of Ohio Capital budget.

Chestnut said the new building will have the only kosher kitchen in Portage County in addition to a lower level, a main level and an upstairs. It will also have a multipurpose room, caf‚, laundry room, wraparound porch and offices for professional and student workers.

Stefany Noble, Hillel’s administrative assistant, said the current building was a sorority house in the 1970s.

The main purpose of the new location is to promote a centralized home for all Jewish students on campus.

Bloom said because it can be a hassle to walk to the current off-campus location, the new building will encourage Jewish students who aren’t normally active in Hillel to participate.

With the new location, Hillel can also be more involved on campus, Chestnut said.

“Now we will be in the heart of it all,” she said.

Chestnut said construction should begin in August 2007 and be finished by August 2008.

The official name for the new building is currently the Hillel Jewish Student Center, she said, but with a naming gift of $2 million, the center would be named after the donor.

Contact religion reporter Heather Scarlett at [email protected].