Board of Trustees approves parking deck, solar panels

The Kent State Board of Trustees approved the plan for a new parking deck near Main Street and installation of solar panels at the regional campuses at its meeting Wednesday. 

The parking deck, which will be located off of Midway Drive, is a part of Phase I of the Master Plan. The project will be funded by bond financing. The total cost of the project is estimated to be $29 million. Michael Bruder, executive director of Facilities, Planning and Design, gave the board a presentation of what the deck will look like.  

“We have been working to make the deck settle into the landscape here and become part of our campus, so we have actually reduced the footprint of the parking deck,” Bruder said. 

The parking deck will be five stories and to minimize the visual impact of it, the deck will be built into the hillside. Located between Nixon Hall, the Williamson House and the Center for Performing Arts, the parking deck will provide 1,100 parking spaces and will replace 900 asphalt spaces. The parking deck project is expected to begin in summer 2020 and will open in fall 2021.

The board also approved a renewable energy project, which will add solar panels to all seven regional campuses. According to a press release, the university solicited proposals and TEN NINE Energy LLC will be installing the panels. Douglas Pearson, associate vice president of Facilities Planning and Operations, told board members about the savings the panels would provide the university. 

“This project will install solar photovoltaic arrays on 21.2 acres of underutilized land, generating five megawatts of energy annually, saving $6.3 million over the life of the solar panels, reducing the electrical consumption at the regional campuses by 56 percent,” Pearson said. 

Solar panels on the regional campuses are expected to be installed by the end of 2020. 

The next Board of Trustees meeting will be March 4, 2020.

Contact Molly Heideman at [email protected].