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Strategic Plan News and Accomplishments

Campus Transformation Continues to Build Momentum

Posted Dec. 12, 2012

The physical transformation of Kent State University’s flagship campus continues its strong momentum with several actions today (Dec. 12) by Kent State University’s Board of Trustees.

After a competitive bidding and interview process, the Board hired The Ruhlin Company of Akron to oversee the construction and renovation projects known collectively as the “Foundations of Excellence, Building the Future” initiative.

During the next four years, the company will manage the scheduling, coordination, construction contracting, contract accounting and communications related to the initiative’s four primary capital projects, which total nearly $150 million and are being financed in part through the university’s issuance of $170 million in general receipts bonds: major renovations of the most heavily used science buildings (Cunningham, Smith and Williams halls) and a multidisciplinary research addition in the science mall area; construction of a new building for Kent State’s nationally respected College of Architecture and Environmental Design near the Kent State University Hotel and Conference Center that will open next June; the rehabilitation, reconstruction or replacement of the art complex; and construction of a new building on the science mall to house the College of Applied Engineering, Sustainability and Technology.

The Board also approved the use of $5.9 million in bond revenue funds for a project to renovate the Olson Center for Undergraduate Studies on the Kent Campus. The center, which provides extensive academic advising services and coordinates advising support throughout the university, was built in 1961 as a dining facility.

In addition, the Board approved the use of $2.5 million in bond revenue funds for a project to renovate the 10,000 square-foot Memorial Athletic and Convocation Center (MACC) Annex for critically needed swing space as the university moves forward with its “Foundations of Excellence, Building the Future” initiative. The Annex renovations will be completed next summer.

The Board approved a number of other actions related to the modernization of the Kent Campus but not funded by the issuance of general receipts bonds. Existing facilities improvements funds totaling $6.985 million will be used to continue a multi-phase project to upgrade the four buildings that make up the Eastway Residential Complex, which was built in 1963. The Board also approved the use of $2.6 million in existing facility improvement funds to replace the shower/toilet rooms in the 53-year-old Prentice Hall with a new design that will give students enhanced privacy and will meet all Americans with Disabilities Act requirements. The Board approved a $4.5-million project ($2.5 million from campus enhancement funds; $2 million from facility fee revenues and private donations) to build a 12,250 square-foot addition to the Field House on the Kent Campus. The addition will include locker rooms and team space for women’s soccer, women’s field hockey, and men’s and women’s track teams. The project also includes a new entry to the Field House and improved restrooms and concessions that will provide an improved experience for fans who attend athletic competitions at the popular venue.

Board of Trustees Gavel Changes Hands

The gavel used by the chair of the Kent State University Board of Trustees was passed to Jane Murphy Timken as the Board passed a resolution of appreciation to acknowledge the many contributions of Trustee Jacqueline Woods, who completed a two-year term as Board chair today (Dec. 12).

Woods, a former AT&T Ohio president, is serving a nine-year term on the volunteer Board that will continue through May 2013. The Board’s resolution commended Woods, a Solon resident, for providing “dynamic leadership at a remarkable time of growth and advancement for Kent State” and for her focus on the “bottom lines” of financial integrity and academic excellence.

Timken is a Canton resident who began her term as a Kent State Trustee in 2005. She is a graduate of Harvard College and she holds a law degree from the American University. Timken has served as a magistrate in Common Pleas Court and practiced law, concentrating in employment and general civil litigation.

In other actions:

  • The Board established Kent State’s first legal entity in Brazil as part of ongoing efforts to expand global education, research and outreach opportunities for students and faculty members. The new legal entity, which will be overseen by the Office of the Provost, is similar to other successful Kent State legal entities in Florence, Italy; Geneva, Switzerland; and New Delhi, India.
  • The Board established a construction management major in the College of Applied Engineering, Sustainability and Technology that will prepare students for careers in the management of construction projects. Construction management is a growing field in Ohio, which according to the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services has the nation’s highest employment level in construction management, and nationwide.
  • The Board passed a resolution of appreciation to acknowledge the service of Dr. Timothy Chandler, longtime administrator and faculty member who has been serving as interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. Chandler is about to become provost and vice president for Academic Affairs at Towson University. The resolution commended Chandler for providing leadership “in many times of change and need.”
  • The Board approved the purchase of a 0.27-acre property located at 213 S. Willow St. in Kent from the Portage Metropolitan Housing Authority for its appraised value of $200,000. The property has high strategic value to the university because it is located very close to other university property.
  • The Board revised the total cost of the previously approved project to renovate the Tri-Towers residence hall complex on the Kent Campus. In December 2011, the Board authorized the issuance of $30 million in bond revenue funds for the project. Today’s action clarified that the project also will require $8.695 million in existing facilities improvement funds.
  • The Board authorized the university to enter into a 15-year lease with the Portage County Port Authority that will allow the university to use the 3.75 acres at the corner of Summit and Lincoln streets in Kent that is known as the Dubois Property. The lease includes an option to buy the property, which is of great strategic value because of its proximity to the university.

The Board granted emeritus status to: Dr. Nancy Barbour, professor of teaching, learning and curriculum studies; Dr. Lyle Barton, professor of lifespan development and educational services; Dr. Lewis Fried, professor of English; Dr. Barbara Schloman, professor and associate dean, University Libraries; and Dr. Lawrence Starzyk, professor of English. Emeritus status is a distinguished title that honors a faculty member’s contributions by allowing him or her continued access to university resources after retirement from the university.

For more information about Kent State, visit www.kent.edu.

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Media Contacts:
Eric Mansfield, emansfie@kent.edu, 330-672-2797
Emily Vincent, evincen2@kent.edu, 330-672-8595