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Six-Year Capital Plan Approved to Support Kent State’s Physical Transformation

Posted Dec. 9, 2013

Kent State University’s Board of Trustees has approved a comprehensive, six-year capital plan that requests state funding for key building and renovation projects for the university’s eight campuses for the period 2015-2020. All of Ohio’s public colleges and universities are required to submit such long-range plans to the Ohio Board of Regents every two years, and all plans are contingent upon the levels of capital appropriations that will be made by the Ohio General Assembly.

Kent State’s six-year capital plan, which requests about $86 million in state capital appropriations across six years, reflects academic priorities, infrastructure-upgrade needs and a backlog of deferred-maintenance projects. It incorporates projects carried over from the previous capital plan and introduces new projects; and it includes projects funded by state capital appropriations and those requiring additional funding through the university, through bond proceeds or with the help of private donations.

Kent State’s six-year capital request supports the goals of its historic “Foundations of Excellence: Building the Future” initiative, which is using $170 million in bond funding to transform the university with new buildings and revitalized classroom, laboratory, studio, performance, living and studying spaces in the next four years. The top priority for the first biennium of the capital plan (covering 2015-16) is the phased renovation and rehabilitation of the science buildings on the Kent Campus (Cunningham, Williams and Smith halls), which along with the construction of an interdisciplinary research building are among the largest and most far-reaching Foundations of Excellence projects.

Another project identified for the first two years of the capital plan is the design of a project to house Kent State’s nationally respected School of Visual Communication Design (VCD) in Taylor Hall. The school’s relocation from its current home in the Art Building would allow VCD faculty and students to maximize an existing, strong synergy with the School of Communications Studies, which already is located in Taylor Hall.

The capital plan includes a number of projects across Kent State’s seven Regional Campuses that target classroom modernization, deferred maintenance and modest building expansions to address growing programs in areas such as nursing, allied health and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields. These projects include the renovation of the Main Hall at Kent State University at Ashtabula; the continuation of classroom renovations at Kent State University at East Liverpool; an evaluation of needs to be addressed by the renovation and expansion of the Classroom Building at Kent State University at Geauga; the completion of renovations to the original gymnasium at Kent State University at Salem to provide science laboratories; renovations and an addition to the Fine Arts Building at Kent State University at Stark; improvements to the Classroom Building Library/Theatre Building at Kent State University at Trumbull; and the start of renovations to and expansion of Founders Hall at Kent State University at Tuscarawas.

University Esplanade Named in Honor of President Lester A. Lefton

The Kent State University Board of Trustees today formally named the University Esplanade, the scenic walkway that spans the Kent Campus and connects the campus with downtown Kent, in honor of Kent State President Lester A. Lefton, who will retire next July after serving as the university’s 11th leader for eight years. Lefton was a driving force behind the nationally recognized revitalization of Kent’s downtown and the major, multimillion-dollar initiative to modernize the university’s eight campuses with new buildings and major renovations that is known as “Foundations of Excellence: Building the Future.”

Noting that the Lester A. Lefton Esplanade is a symbol of the strong connection between a vibrant campus and a newly vibrant city, the trustees’ resolution stated that “President Lefton’s leadership legacy includes efforts to forge a new era of town-gown cooperation, to make Kent State one of America’s best college towns and to transform Kent State’s campuses into 21st-century learning environments that will cultivate student success for decades to come.”

The Board’s resolution also commended Lefton for a commitment to excellence that “has led Kent State to new heights of achievement, making student success Kent State’s top priority, setting new records in enrollment and fundraising, elevating the university’s academic strengths and standing, launching new programs in high-demand and emerging fields, increasing its international presence; and modernizing facilities to meet the aspirations of our students and their families.”

Click here to read more about these and additional actions taken by the Kent State University Board of Trustees on Dec. 4.