Kent State Board of Trustees Approves Design Innovation Hub to Spur Cross-Disciplinary Collaboration

Innovators, problem solvers and designers are a growing force at Kent State University, bringing a renewed vibrancy to the heart of campus. Soon they will have a dynamic, new space designed to spark creativity and collaboration.

The Kent State Board of Trustees voted June 6 to transform the former School of Art building into a new state-of-the-art, student-centered Design Innovation Hub and Dining facility.

The redesigned building will support teamwork, critical thinking and inventiveness with collaborative workspaces and makerspaces.

“The goal is to nurture a design innovation ecosystem that enhances the cross-pollination of ideas from student and faculty teams across campus,” said J.R. Campbell, executive director of Kent State’s Design Innovation Initiative. “It will be comprised of human, physical and intellectual resources that knit together Kent State’s broad disciplines to develop a uniquely distinctive community of creative problem solvers.”

Located near Kent State’s Front Campus along Midway Drive, the building will be open 24 hours per day to serve the Design Innovation community, as well as a new dining facility and other amenities to support student success and “creative collisions” with Design Innovation projects.

The building will undergo a complete transformation inside and out. The work associated with this project is estimated at $44.9 million and will be funded from three sources: $24.9 million in Kent State local funds; $15 million in state capital allocations; and a $5 million capital commitment from Aramark through the dining partnership agreement.

Construction is anticipated to begin in late 2018 and be completed in the summer of 2020.

The plan is part of Phase I of the 10-year facilities master plan known as the Gateway to a Distinctive Kent State, which the Board approved in March 2018.

Details about the updated master plan can be found at

Board Approves Funding for New and Improved Homes for Key Programs

The iconic Front Campus is another step closer to undergoing a dramatic transformation to enhance a welcoming feel at Midway Drive and expand the dynamic synergy with the city of Kent.

In order to make way for the proposed College of Business Administration building and Main Street parking deck at the entrance of the gateway, the Board approved funding for new and improved homes for three key programs.

The Board voted to utilize $5.5 million from Kent State local funds to relocate and potentially expand the ROTC offices and Fashion School studios from Terrace Hall and alleviate the impact of the parking deck on the Women’s Center and the Sexual and Relationship Violence Support Services office located in Williamson House. Collaboration continues to determine improved and suitable locations.

Renovations and relocations are expected to be complete after the 2019 Spring Semester.

The university continues to assess public-private partnerships through philanthropy (P4) design and financing proposals resulting from an ongoing competitive process for a new College of Business Administration building.

Board Approves Balanced Budget, Maintains Current Tuition for In-State Undergraduate Students

The Board approved a balanced budget for Fiscal Year 2019 of $644.6 million to continue providing students with a world-class education delivered by exemplary faculty and staff while the university remains in a healthy and solid financial position. Meeting today’s financial challenges with a balanced budget is a testament to university leaders’ emphasis on effectiveness/efficiency strategies, along with optimizing resources to achieve desired outcomes and goals.

This budget continues the university’s commitment to increase funding of institutional scholarships, including $1.9 million in new scholarship funds to assist students and their families.

The Board also approved tuition and fees for the new academic year. In-state, undergraduate students will see no increase in their current tuition of $5,006 per semester for full-time undergraduates attending the Kent Campus, which has not been raised since 2014. The Board previously approved the guaranteed tuition model, which locks tuition for four years for the incoming freshmen only.

The Kent Campus annualized full-time undergraduate tuition remains among the lowest in the state; it ranks seventh of the 13 Ohio public higher education institutions.

Students at the Regional Campuses also will continue to pay the current tuition, which is $2,832 per semester for lower-division courses and $3,319 for upper-division courses.

The Board approved a 2 percent increase ($7 per credit hour) in the undergraduate, non-resident surcharge; a 10 percent increase ($41 per credit hour) in the graduate, non-resident surcharge; and a 2 percent ($10 per credit hour) in the graduate tuition rate, which ranks ninth of the 13 Ohio universities for both Ohio and out-of-state residents.

Overall, this balanced budget recognizes the importance of college affordability and encourages student success to fulfill Kent State’s “Students First” commitment as outlined in A Strategic Roadmap to a Distinctive Kent State.

Board Chair Lawrence Pollock Honored for Years of Service, Encouraging Charge to Create Healthy Campus

The Board approved a resolution of appreciation to its chair, Lawrence (Larry) Pollock. Completing his nine-year term as a trustee, Trustee Pollock has served on multiple board committees and provided leadership as vice-chair and most recently as chair. Under his leadership, the Board approved a $1-billion, 10-year facilities master plan that will reshape the Kent Campus for generations to come and encouraged the charge toward a goal of making Kent State the healthiest campus in America.

Student Trustee Carly Evans also received a resolution from the Board for her contributions during her two-year term as a student trustee. She will graduate in August with her Bachelor of Science in Public Relations. 

Board Reaffirms University’s Commitment to City of Kent

In a public affirmation of Kent State’s appreciation of and commitment to the city of Kent, the Board approved a joint resolution with the Kent City Council authorizing and encouraging the city and university leadership to continue the strong and active commitment to their strategic partnership. In the joint resolution, which was approved by the Kent City Council on May 16, the university and the city extend their appreciation to each other and the growing list of community and business partners who join them in enriching the university-community experience enjoyed by residents, students, faculty, staff, visitors, businesses and other organizations in Kent.

In 2013, the city of Kent and Kent State marked the passage of the Centennial Celebration of Kent State with a joint resolution of appreciation and commitment in honor of 100 years of the town-gown partnership. In the last decade, the city and university have accelerated their efforts to advance collaborations in the pursuit of shared strategic priorities between the city and the university. The results of those collaborative projects have led to numerous state and national awards.

For the past two years, Kent State has been working closely with the city on the Summit Street: Building a Better Way project. Overseen by the city, the project is designed to transform a one-mile stretch of East Summit Street that runs through the heart of the university’s Kent Campus. The project, which is primarily financed through federal and state funds, will significantly reduce traffic congestion and create a safer and more attractive roadway.

In 2018, Kent State adopted a $1-billion campus master plan that promises to be transformative both in and around the Kent Campus. Also in 2018, the city and university signed a resolution of agreement to collaborate and partner on the transformation of the East Main Street area to enhance traffic flow and safety for the residential neighborhoods along East Main Street.

With this resolution, the city of Kent and Kent State have publicly affirmed their support for the ambitions of the town-gown partnership for the next decade, working together toward the fulfillment of shared aspirations and objectives, including:

  • Enhancing and showcasing the abundant assets of the university-city community that make Kent a great place to live, work, play and learn.
  • Leveraging educational, social and cultural opportunities for community enrichment and personal growth.
  • Creating welcoming public spaces that attract diverse populations for engagement and interaction.

Among other Board actions:

  • The Board named the Mary J. Timken Theatre, located on the first floor in the Fine Arts Building at Kent State University at Stark, in honor of Mary J. Timken. The Timken Foundation has given approximately $1.75 million to Kent State since 1989. In 2017, the Timken Foundation honored Mary J. Timken, a true arts patron and advocate, with a gift of $500,000 to the Kent State Stark’s Fine Arts Building expansion and renovation project.
  • The Board approved the establishment of the Kent State University Research Corporation, an independent, nonprofit organization established to provide direct support for research and technology commercialization efforts at Kent State. It will provide faculty researchers, students and staff with additional options to initiate university research.
  • The Board approved replacement windows for Eastway Center, which includes Manchester, Fletcher, Clark and Allyn halls, all built in 1963. Eastway Center houses more than 1,000 undergraduate students and is heavily used for visiting prospective students and families and during the summer Destination Kent State recruitment program. The Department of Residence Services has allocated $7.6 million in facility maintenance funding to replace more than 900 windows and the exterior at Eastway Center. The window replacements will occur during the summer recess of 2019 and 2020.
  • The Board voted unanimously to re-elect Beverly J. Warren to a fifth term as Kent State president, effective July 1, 2018. The university constitution requires the Board to hold an annual election of the president.
  • The Board elected the following officers for 2018-2019: Ralph Della Ratta, chair; Shawn Riley, vice-chair; and Margot Copeland, secretary.
  • The Board appointed Catherine Ross, Ph.D., as National Trustee for a three-year term. Dr. Ross currently works at Georgia Institute of Technology serving as director of the Center for Quality Growth and Regional Development and as Harry West Professor of City and Regional Planning in the School of City and Regional Planning in the College of Design. She received her bachelor’s degree from Kent State. Dr. Ross joins Michael Solomon in this nonvoting role. Trustee Solomon was elected as Kent State’s first National Trustee in 2011 and re-elected in 2014 and 2017.

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Media Contacts:
Eric Mansfield,, 330-672-2797
Emily Vincent,, 330-672-8595

POSTED: Wednesday, June 6, 2018 - 3:47pm
UPDATED: Friday, January 11, 2019 - 4:21pm
University Communications and Marketing