Fine Arts Building ready for fall semester
The Fine Arts expansion and renovation project is set for completion Aug. 23 as the campus welcomes students for the start of a new academic year.
All Kent State University at Stark students benefit from the 15,000 square feet of new space and renovation of another 17,000 square feet of the building.
“This project provides the space where imaginations and talents will be stretched, and where community members will explore a variety of cultural offerings and interactions,” said Denise Seachrist, Ph.D., dean and chief administrative officer.
The $9.7 million capital project transforms the facility to meet the needs of a growing student population and expands opportunities to hundreds of community members who visit the campus annually for arts programs.
Brian Gardner, senior facilities manager, said the expansion phase included two new studios to accommodate the music technology program, which is the fastest-growing degree program on campus. Kent State Stark is one of only a handful of universities across the country to offer a bachelor’s degree in music technology.
Funding for the expansion and renovation project includes a $1.5 million appropriation from the state; $1.5 million remaining from construction of the university’s Science and Nursing Building, completed in 2015; and $3.7 million from Kent State Stark’s reserves with the remainder given by private donors.
Groundbreaking for the expansion phase of the project took place in 2017; the renovation phase began in the spring.
The 17,000-square-foot renovation project provides the theater department with:
- An updated costume design area
- An innovative new sound and lighting classroom
- A new multi-use stage rigging system
- A black box theater allowing students and the community to conduct smaller-scale productions
In the art department, the renovations include:
- A new ceramics studio
- A shop area dust-collection system in the sculpture studio
- An exterior sculpture production area
- The addition of two interior art gallery spaces
The Fine Arts Building has been expanded twice since it was originally constructed in 1972. The building was 65,000 square feet, accommodating 1,800 students. When enrollment reached 2,500 students in 2004, the university added 20,000 square feet. Today, each of the campus’ 5,000 students takes at least one class in the building, prompting the 32,000-square-foot expansion and renovation project.