Renovations rejuvenate Student Center Ballroom

Kurt Jakub

Just like Franklin Hall, the Kent Student Center Ballroom is receiving alterations this summer.

“Essentially, the Ballroom was a big brown box before,” said Jacqueline Parsons, executive director for the Kent Student Center.

Parsons said changes are underway for an improved and updated Ballroom. Renovations are set for a new appearance, a fire suppression system, better lighting and superior sound quality.

“Pretty much all of the finishes will be redone or refreshed,” said Beth Ruffing, assistant director of capital design and construction for the Office of the University Architect. “All of the walls currently have old wood paneling, and all of that will be replaced with something new.”

Ruffing said an acoustical study took place in the Ballroom. The study showed the acoustics were “too live.”

“We are putting in a lot of fabric-faced acoustic panels to improve the sound,” Ruffing said.

Parsons said the panels will be blue and gold to match Kent State’s colors. She said that the panels will be covered in fabric to give the Ballroom a new look.

Two illuminated Kent State seals will appear on the walls on both sides of the front platform.

“The seals will be a statement that when you enter the Ballroom, it is the Kent State Ballroom, not the Hyatt,” Parsons said.

The balcony will receive soundproof moveable partitions, which will allow the balcony to be used independently from the rest of the Ballroom.

“We can have two functions going on simultaneously as long as it’s not a loud concert and a guest speaker,” Parsons said.

Ruffing said new flooring and seating are scheduled for installation, but the capacity of the Ballroom will not be affected.

The ceiling’s appearance and acoustic quality will also be improved, Ruffing said.

“The whole ceiling is very distracting; it’s two-tone colors,” she said. “To improve the ceiling we will add acoustical ceiling tile in the coffers and we will add down-lighting.”

Ruffing said the Ballroom had up-lighting, which gives the ballroom a dreary appearance. The down-lighting will give the Ballroom a fresh, modern look, she claimed.

In addition to updating the Ballroom’s appearance, Ruffing said they are planning to install a new sound system.

The audio/visual booth in the Ballroom is also scheduled for renovation. The control booth will be relocated from the side of the stage to the back of the room, Parsons said. The operator inside the booth will now be able to view the stage in order to operate changes in lighting or sound more efficiently, she said.”Everything in the control booth will be electronically set up so it will be easy to use,” Ruffing said. “Everything will be controlled with the push of a button.”

The renovations will be completed by October, Parsons said.

Contact buildings, grounds and transportation reporter Kurt Jakub at [email protected].