New semester, new surroundings

Elise Franco

Aerial view of newly built Stopher Johnson Hall, home of the Honors College. BRIAN MARKS | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: Steve Schirra

As another fall semester begins, and sidewalks and benches start to fill up, students may notice some major changes this year on Kent State’s campus.

Over the past year, several campus projects have been or are almost completed, including the rebuilding of Stopher and Johnson Halls and turning them into the new Honors College facility, the demolition of Terrace Hall to be made into a commuter parking lot, and the resurrection of the refurbished Kent State University Archway.

The archway, which was donated to Kent State by the class of 1956, originally stood at the entrance of Midway Drive. It remained there until 2003 when it was taken down for repairs, said Thomas Euclide, director of the office of the University Architect.

“We took it down for two reasons,” he said. “One, because it had become a danger to traffic, and two, because the pillars were badly damaged. Busses and trucks that took the turn into Midway too sharply would hit the pillars.”

The landmark’s new home is now Janik Drive, directly between Bowman Hall and the Business Administration Building.

Euclide said the new location is a great addition to the other recent renovations in the area.

“We liked the combination of the new Honors College and the esplanade with it,” he said. “It gives a great entry point into that whole area.”


The esplanade is the new walkway starting at Risman Plaza and stretching between the Business Administration Building and Van Deusen Hall, passing along Kent Hall and the Carol A. Cartwright Auditorium. It will end with the completion of Franklin Hall next fall.

Several Kent State students have already noticed the changes as they walk across campus.

Beth Watson, junior psychology major, said she passes under the archway on her way to class every day.

“I saw it the other day,” she said. “It makes the campus look very welcoming.”

Watson also said she thinks the completed Honors College looks great and is excited to see what the inside looks like.

Michael Bruder, assistant director of the office of the University Architect, said the Stopher/Johnson/Honors College project had been two and a half years in the making.

“Overall, the construction went very smoothly,” he said. “We finished on time and under budget.

“The Honors College looks great. It has great furniture, more space, more classrooms and wireless coverage throughout the entire facility and even in some places outside.”

Still in the works is the future parking lot where Terrace Hall previously stood.

The lot will include visitor parking meters, enclosed shelters and a designated bus lane from Terrace Drive to Midway Drive so campus buses don’t have to go out onto state Route 59, Euclide said.

Bruder said the new commuter parking lot, called the C-Midway Lot, is set to open in late October.

“I think the new parking lot is going to be great,” David Lucci, junior speech pathology major, said. “I just bought a C pass this year, and I was so nervous on the first day of class that I wouldn’t be able to find a place to park.”

“It will be nice to have more commuter parking spaces, which I think will encourage students to go to class,” he said.

Euclide said other current campus projects include gutting and updating bathrooms in every residence hall and renovating the Student Center Ballroom to give it a more contemporary look.

Contact general assignment reporter Elise Franco at [email protected].