Salem campus to get new building

Kate Bigam

Board of Trustees approves purchase of

Kent State’s future Salem graduates may experience commencement in an entirely new location than in the past.

The Board of Trustees unanimously agreed to purchase the Salem Middle School building for $50,000, to be used by Kent State’s Salem campus, at yesterday’s first board meeting of the semester.

Jeffrey Nolte, dean of the Salem campus, spoke to the Finance and Administration Committee about his desire to expand the campus into the greater Salem community.

Calling the facility “a beautiful structure with one of those wonderful theaters,” Nolte said the facility’s 660-seat auditorium will allow the Salem campus to move commencement activities from the gymnasium, where it was previously held.

The building will also allow the Salem campus to offer art and music classes, which it did not previously have space for.

Prior to the board’s vote, David Creamer, senior vice president of administration, presented the committee with a general history of the building.

“Before we move forward with this, we want to make sure we’re not taking on a project with a lot of surprises,” he said.

The building was erected in the early 1900s, and the city of Salem has spent more than $1 million on building repairs during the past decade and a half, Creamer said. The facility should exist without major maintenance needs for the next 10 to 15 years. It became available for purchase in June 2006 after Salem’s junior high and high school combined into one building.

According to a press release, the 73,000-square-foot building currently houses the Hannah E. Mullins School of Practical Nursing and the Salem YWCA on short-term leases while the sale of the building is pending.

The board also voted to approve a $555,000 addition to the budget for the university’s new Enterprise Resource Planning system, launched earlier this year.

The system will replace Kent State’s current data management system, which will streamline the university-wide system and eventually allow the university to do away with the use of social security numbers.

In May, the board approved a $23 million budget for the ERP system under the guideline that the university would attempt to save money whenever possible during the system’s implementation.

Ed Mahon, vice president for information services and chief information officer, said the university has already saved money in consulting costs.

“This is not a new product,” Mahon said. “It’s still hard for universities to figure out how to use it in its best way, though.”

Although the additional $555,000 may not be needed in the end, Creamer said the ERP budget increase will provide a safety net to ensure the project is wholly and most effectively implemented.

“We’re not at that critical place yet where we’re sure what the cost of implementation will be,” Creamer said.

Additionally, the board voted unanimously in favor of the following:

• Inactivation of the laboratory technology major at the Trumbull campus because of lack of student interest; the major could be reactivated if enough interest is expressed.

• Formal ratification of employment contracts for President Lester Lefton and President Emeritus Carol Cartwright

Contact administration reporter Kate Bigam at [email protected].