Regional Academic Center in Twinsburg Opens
A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Kent State University Regional Academic Center in Twinsburg took place on Sept. 12 at the center’s location at 2745 Creekside Drive in Twinsburg, Ohio. The event celebrated Kent State’s commitment to providing students with expanded pathways to affordable and accessible higher education.
Kent State President Lester A. Lefton delivered remarks at the event, in addition to remarks by Jacqueline F. Woods, chair of the Kent State Board of Trustees; Katherine Procop, mayor of Twinsburg; Randy Ruttenberg, principal of Fairmount Properties, the private partner and developer of Kent State’s Regional Academic Center; and David Mohan, dean of Kent State University at Geauga and the Regional Academic Center. Attendees also received guided tours of the new academic center.
The new 44,000-square-foot, two-story building, which meets the United States Green Building Coalition’s criteria for gold LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification, is regionally situated with more than one million citizens within a 30-minute drive and serves a four-county area. The center offers a full range of programs, from traditional associate and baccalaureate degrees to master’s degrees and executive training programs. The expanded course offerings also include more continuing education, workforce development and job training, as well as community engagement opportunities.
“The Kent State University Regional Academic Center is Kent State’s latest investment in providing high-quality higher education to Northeast Ohio,” Lefton said. “We have seen a lot of growth at our academic center in Twinsburg, and we see this trend continuing. The new academic center with state-of-the-art classrooms, technology, and science and medical laboratories will better serve our existing students and offer additional programs.”
The new building is also an example of a public-private partnership and highlights regionalism by using a Cleveland developer (Fairmount Properties) and a loan from the Development Finance Authority of Summit County (formerly the Summit County Port Authority). The center was built through a loan from the Development Finance Authority of Summit County and took advantage of the federal Build America Bonds program, allowing $1.4 million in cost savings. The university entered into a 30-year tenant lease agreement. After 30 years, the building becomes university property.
The new Regional Academic Center features executive education suites with state-of-the-art technology that will serve graduate- and doctoral-level course work, and executive workforce training and development. The center also has wet science labs that include chemical storage facilities and laboratory prep areas, a nursing education suite with an observation room and a nursing simulator control room for the associate degree in nursing (ADN) program, computer labs, general classrooms, tutoring and study rooms, conference rooms, administrative and faculty office suites, and a patio that has the amenities to serve as an outdoor instructional area.
“The new Regional Academic Center allows us to serve the people we serve better with room to grow,” Mohan said. “The old academic center served about 900 students, but our new building can serve up to 1,500 people. One of the major features of the academic center is that it’s a transition center for students who start and ended up completing their education at the Kent Campus.”
The Regional Academic Center is located near a growing number of medically related businesses, making the new facility an ideal venue to offer nursing, public health and executive training programs, and serving a high-volume area for health professionals, in particular. Medical facilities in the area include the Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals Health System, Summa Health System, Edgepark Medical Supplies and Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Ohio.