Kent State to Build Expansion to Its Aeronautics and Engineering Building

A $1.5 million gift from The Timken Foundation of Canton is supporting the project

Kent State University’s College of Aeronautics and Engineering is unique in the country as the only college that combines the disciplines of aeronautics, engineering and engineering technology in one cohesive college, enabling cross-disciplinary synergy in academic programs and research. Due to the value associated with a degree in these fields, enrollment growth has exploded, with a 53.6% increase in enrolling freshmen since 2018 and an almost 7% enrollment growth collegewide in 2020 – notable during the COVID-19 pandemic. In order to support current and future enrollment growth, the university plans to build a 44,000-square-foot expansion to the Aeronautics and Engineering Building that will include collaborative spaces, state-of-the-art teaching and research laboratories, and office space to accommodate rapid enrollment growth.
Atrium rendering of Kent State University's Aeronautics and Engineering Building expansion
 

A $1.5 million gift from The Timken Foundation of Canton has allowed the university to advance the groundbreaking timeline for the $19.6 million expansion project. In honor of its support, the university will dedicate the building’s new two-story atrium in honor of The Timken Foundation of Canton. 

“The successful completion of this project, as part of our master plan, will support Kent State’s ability to produce the highly qualified STEM graduates needed for the state’s and region’s manufacturing and engineering sectors,” said Kent State President Todd Diacon. “We’re very grateful that The Timken Foundation of Canton has partnered with us to enable the College of Aeronautics and Engineering to contribute even more to the sustainability of the region’s engineering and manufacturing workforce – a vision both organizations share.”

The experiential curriculum offered in the college’s programs, coupled with the expanding research of the faculty, requires physical space to accommodate laboratories and collaborative spaces. While higher education is evaluating the need for bricks and mortar investments as a result of the forced virtual engagement brought on by COVID-19, Kent State administrators understand that those disciplines requiring designing, building and operating advanced technological devices and systems still require hands-on engagement and training. This project remains a top university priority, and $12 million has been reallocated internally to support this $19.6 million project.

“Kent State recognizes the importance of virtual education in this rapidly changing landscape of higher education,” said Christina Bloebaum, Ph.D., dean of Kent State’s College of Aeronautics and Engineering. “The new expansion will also incorporate the latest technology to enable synchronous delivery of virtual education. The expansion’s two new classrooms, as well as teaching laboratories, will be equipped to enable virtual delivery in a streaming, synchronous mode, which will also support the college’s efforts to create pathway opportunities with our Regional Campuses and partner organizations.”

The university will break ground on the expansion on Oct. 1, 2021, as part of its Homecoming Weekend activities. The new building expansion will feature a two-story atrium that provides a unique environment for researchers and for the members of the unmanned aircraft systems flight operations program to fly indoors year-round while also creating a dynamic public space to encourage collaboration and community. 

The building expansion will also feature an almost 3,000-square-foot auditorium that will provide a high-tech space to support larger classes, student competitions, K-12 outreach events and community-oriented events. The building addition will also house Maker Alley, a dynamic area that will include a set of three teaching labs – the Pattern and Fabrication Laboratory, the Maker Space and the Design and Innovation Laboratory – which will add to the existing Materials and Processes Lab and Foundry facilities to support innovative design and entrepreneurship across the curriculum and beyond the classroom. 

The new facilities will also be home to the new cyber.domain that comprises a Cyber Range Laboratory and esports arena as well as a Networking and Server Laboratory. The new Simulation and Cybersecurity Laboratory will support the Cybersecurity Engineering program and research and enable Kent State to partner with the University of Akron’s Timken Cyber Range facilities. 

“The Timken Foundation is proud to honor Henry and Louise Timken, pioneers in flight, through this gift to the building expansion at Kent State’s College of Aeronautics and Engineering,” said Ward J. “Jack” Timken, president of The Timken Foundation of Canton.

Kent State’s College of Aeronautics and Engineering recently received a $6.5 million investment from FedEx Corp. that enabled the construction of the new FedEx Aeronautics Academic Center at the Kent State University Airport. This new facility has resulted in a 93% enrollment growth in the Professional Pilot program in just three years. 

“We have every confidence that we will experience similar enrollment growth within our other aeronautics and engineering programs being supported by the Aeronautics and Engineering Building expansion,” Bloebaum said. “We know that investments in facilities will significantly impact enrollment in our unique, in-demand programs, and we’re very grateful for partners who see the strength of our programs and our ability to deliver first-class graduates who will enhance the quality and skills of the much-needed workforce in our industries.”

Additional naming opportunities are available within the new addition for interested corporate or individual donors.

For more information about Kent State’s College of Aeronautics and Engineering, visit www.kent.edu/cae.

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About Kent State University
Kent State University is one of 91 public doctoral universities with high research activity, as categorized by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. Kent State is the highest-ranked public university in northern Ohio on the Top Public Schools and Best National Universities lists by U.S. News & World Report. With eight campuses spanning Northeast Ohio, a College of Podiatric Medicine, a Twinsburg Academic Center and academic sites in major world cities, such as New York City, Geneva and Florence, Kent State is one of Ohio’s leading public universities and a major educational, economic and cultural resource far beyond the Northeast Ohio region it has served since 1910. The student body comprises about 35,000 students, including 1,370 international students from nearly 100 countries, and the worldwide alumni family exceeds 262,000. The addition of new learning environments from the sciences to the arts and the development of exciting new academic programs characterize Kent State’s focus on transformational educational experiences.

About The Timken Foundation of Canton
The Timken Foundation of Canton is a private, nonprofit family foundation founded in 1934 by Henry H. Timken Sr. The foundation has disbursed more than $400 million in grants, primarily in the communities where The Timken Company operates.  

Media Contacts:
Eric Mansfield, emansfie@kent.edu, 330-672-2797
Leigh Greenfelder, lgreenfe@kent.edu, 330-672-7108

POSTED: Thursday, September 30, 2021 - 1:43pm
UPDATED: Thursday, September 30, 2021 - 2:43pm
WRITTEN BY:
Division of Philanthropy and Alumni Engagement