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Kent / Kent State University: Development and News

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Kent State currently has several building projects going on or in planning, including residence halls, ice arena, library, etc.  A listing of the status of projects can be found here:



From the 1/11/06 Akron Beacon Journal:



PHOTO: Kent State University's Centennial Court student housing complex draws raves from residents, but the university was dissatisfied with the quality of the work.  Robin Tinay Sallie/Akron Beacon Journal


Builder, university exchange brickbats

Contractor on troubled job sues Kent State, which might have seen difficulties coming

By Stephen Dyer

Beacon Journal staff writer


KENT - The final two quads of Kent State University's Centennial Court were supposed to help mark the majestic beginning of a $400 million student housing campaign...





Competing claims to be settled in court


CCI and Kent State University will do battle in the Ohio Court of Claims over what happened at the Centennial Court project CCI oversaw between 2002 and 2004.




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Cleveland Construction, huh? They built the Middletown Wal-mart also. My dad worked for one of their sister companies out of Mason (you can see their ugly glass building across from Kings Island on 75) about 7 years ago. I remember their own office which they built had a bunch of problems such as no doors on the bathrooms for several years after construction. They used to cater huge meals and buy tickets for everyone in the office for the battle of Ohio, that was always fun.


Anyway, its interesting that OU and KSU are building more dorms when Miami is tearing one down, has 2 closed, and is building academic buildings.

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From the 1/20/06 Daily Kent Stater:



University continues Franklin project

By: Rachel Abbey

Issue date: 1/20/06 Section: News


The university has decided to move forward with its Franklin Hall project, the future home of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication.


"We will be shifting future capital funds to go into this project," said Beth Ruffing, assistant director of capital design and construction.


The construction bids had come in higher than estimated for the project, which forced administrators to look beyond their planned funds. Additional money will come from future funding, she said, and will not affect already planned projects, such as Oscar Ritchie Hall's renovations.


Administration has not yet chosen which contracts to accept but will within the next week, she said.


"We will not take all the alternates, but we will have a complete building," Ruffing said.


The decisions of which alternates, or non-necessities that could be included in the construction of the project, to take depends mostly on state regulations, she said. The total project must cost no more than 10 percent more than the overall estimated price.


"For example, if the estimate was $10 million, we could not award projects that cost more than $11 million," Ruffing said.


Members of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication have already helped the architects prioritize which alternates are necessary to the project, said director Jeff Fruit. Some of the alternates, such as the computer labs, have been expected all along to be included in the project.


Some of the non-chosen site work could be funded through other contracts, such as the university's walkway improvement project, Ruffing said.


Contact administration reporter Rachel Abbey at rabbey@kent.edu.




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From the 1/24/06 Akron Beacon Journal:



Company, KSU clash in court

They blame each other for delays and mistakes made in dorm project

By Dennis J. Willard

Beacon Journal Columbus Bureau


COLUMBUS - An attorney for the construction company suing Kent State University for $3.6 million said a student housing project was delayed from the start and that weather, unions and an indecisive administration only made matters worse...




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From the 1/25/06 Akron Beacon Journal:



Firm defends construction at Kent State

CCI chief says photos exaggerate problems

By Dennis Willard

Beacon Journal Columbus Bureau


COLUMBUS - After sitting quietly and patiently through a slide show Monday that Kent State University's attorney said depicted shoddy construction at the university, Jon Small took the witness stand Tuesday and defended his company's work on four campus housing units...




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From the 1/31/06 Akron Beacon Journal:



KSU building delays outlined

Ex-director testifies in company's lawsuit over new dormitories

By Dennis J. Willard

Beacon Journal Columbus Bureau


COLUMBUS - A former Cleveland Construction Inc. director on Monday outlined a series of documented problems the firm said it experienced while building dormitories for Kent State University three years ago...




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From the 2/1/06 Akron Beacon Journal:



Expert says firm saved KSU time

Consultant tells court CCI preserved funds on college project, too

By Dennis J. Willard

Beacon Journal Columbus bureau


COLUMBUS - After reviewing daily logs, schedules, e-mail, even photos of work in progress, an expert in construction scheduling testified Tuesday that Cleveland Construction Inc. saved Kent State University months and money on four dormitories...




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From the 2/2/06 Akron Beacon Journal:



KSU fires back with its witnesses

Architect testifies builder walked out of meeting, breached dorm contract

By Dennis J. Willard

Beacon Journal Columbus Bureau


COLUMBUS - The friction between Cleveland Construction Inc. and Kent State University on a $17 million dormitory project got so bad that representatives from the firm walked out of a meeting on Aug. 15, 2003...




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From the 2/3/06 Akron Beacon Journal:



Builder, electrical company conflict

Foreman at KSU job site says contractor interfered

By Dennis J. Willard

Beacon Journal Columbus Bureau


COLUMBUS - The site foreman overseeing electrical work on Kent State University dormitories testified Thursday that he was ordered to ignore the project's schedule and install devices and protective cover plates before drywall was hung...




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Finally...a story that's not about a lawsuit:



Auroran gives $6.5 million to Kent State

Gift will aid $12 million theatre and dance project

By Don Jovich

Record-Courier staff writer


An Aurora woman has pledged $6.5 million for the Kent State University School of Theatre and Dance’s $12 million renovation and expansion project for the Music and Speech Center building...




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From the 2/15/06 Akron Beacon Journal:



Kent State suit in final stages

Judge may take months to review $3.6 million lawsuit over delays, costs in construction of student dorms

By Dennis J. Willard

Beacon Journal Columbus Bureau


COLUMBUS - Attorneys for Cleveland Construction Inc. and


Kent State will review final transcripts, then file post-trial findings to the Ohio Court of Claims, as the final stages of the company's $3.6 million lawsuit against the university...




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From the 2/24/06 Daily Kent Stater:



Renovation in the works

Oscar Ritchie Hall to begin construction in August 2007

By: Jennifer Mussig

Issue date: 2/24/06 Section: News


After repeated requests from students and faculty in the last year, a date has been set for the renovation of Oscar Ritchie Hall.


The renovation will reflect more appropriately the academic and cultural mission of the Center of Pan-African Culture and add to the attractiveness of the front campus area, said Diedre Badejo, chairperson for the Center of Pan-African Culture.


Oscar Ritchie Hall is currently in the design phase of renovation, which will end around March 2007, said Chinwe Abulokwe, architect for Moody Nolan, Inc. Construction is scheduled to start in August 2007 and is expected to be completed by August 2008, she said. The building will most probably stay the same size. Most of the work will focus on redoing the interior, but there will be some work done to the outside.


There is no cultural center like this in the country, said professor Mwatabu Okantah, director of the Center of Pan-African Culture. The renovation will attract more students, staff and members of the community, he added.


"People tend to like new things," Okantah said. "It will be the place to be."


Part of the mission, as a cultural center, is to serve the campus and the community, Okantah said. The African Community Theatre gives students the opportunity to learn and act. It also gives opportunities to people in the community who want to be involved as well. With a newly renovated Oscar Ritchie Hall, the center will be better able to increase participation from the community, he added.


"The commitment to get the building renovated reflects the university's commitment to diversity," Okantah said.


The Center of Pan-African Culture is planning a master's degree program, Badejo said. It would benefit the center to have national and international scholars visit Kent State to expose students to people with great expertise. Badejo said she looks forward to having a space as welcoming as the department and campus are.


"We are very excited and thrilled about the investment in the cultural center and the renovation of Oscar Ritchie Hall," she said. "We look forward to meeting the academic and cultural vision for the 21st century."


Previous interior renovations to Oscar Ritchie Hall were completed two summers ago. The building used to get too hot during summer and too cold during winter, Okantah said. Air conditioners were installed in offices with windows, new carpeting was placed, the ventilation system was improved and new doors were installed for added security.


"I would like to jazz up one entrance to give the building a face," Abulokwe said.


Included in the renovation will be an elevator to make the building completely accessible to people with handicaps. In the past, if a handicapped student had a class on the third floor, the class would be moved, Okantah said.


Digital photos have already been taken of all the artwork in Oscar Ritchie. The artwork will be professionally photographed again by Moody Nolan, Inc. After spending time exploring different possibilities, it was evident the walls couldn't be preserved, Okantah said.


It is possible that future generations of students could put their own artwork in the building, Okantah said. He said he advocates students submitting a design to a jury of students, faculty and staff who will then select what to put in the building.


Contact buildings and grounds reporter Jennifer Mussig at jemussig@kent.edu.




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^Yikes, my first Mayday cyber bitch slap!


Since part of my college career was spent there...I guess it holds true.

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From the 3/19/06 Akron Beacon Journal:



KSU looks for salvager to help in razing dorm

University would share in proceeds from materials

By Carol Biliczky

Beacon Journal staff writer


KENT - When Terrace Hall was built, words such as "plush'' and "sleek'' were used to describe it. Today "aging'' and "battered'' would be better words...




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From the 4/17/06 Daily Kent Stater:



Summertime renovations set to begin

By: Jennifer Mussig

Issue date: 4/17/06 Section: News


Construction fencing will remain around Franklin Hall as the foundation for the new addition is put in this summer. Renovation of the building will be completed before the addition, but the project should be completed by Fall 2007, said Beth Ruffing, assistant director of capital planning.


Summer means hot weather, orange cones, road detours and the steady hum of construction equipment. Kent State's campus will be a hive of activity as the university tries to take advantage of the 95 to 100 days between school letting out for the summer and students arriving in the fall.


About 35 projects will be under construction on campus this summer, said Tom Euclide, director of architecture and engineering. And those are just the more substantial projects. He said there are at least 20 projects of a smaller scale being done as well.


The capital improvement plan allocation bill was not approved in time for all the construction to take place last summer, Euclide said, which is why there are so many projects this summer. The delay in funds did not allow enough time to complete designs for projects last summer.


"We are making up for lost time and planning for the future," Euclide said.


The Student Center Ballroom will be closed as it receives a makeover this summer. The room will be modified with up-to-date technical needs. The makeover won't be completed by the time classes resume in the fall, Euclide said.


The Portage Bike and Hike Trail will be extended from the Kent campus to the Summit East parking lot, Horning Road and the new pedestrian bridge crossing over state Route 261, Euclide said. By early fall students can use the path to walk to football games.


Work on the third and final phase of the University Esplanade will be completed for the fall. It will connect the first two phases in the area between Bowman Hall, the Business and Administration Building and the Art Building. The esplanade, or wide walkway, will also extend down Hilltop Drive toward Franklin Hall.


Roof repairs and replacement will be done on the Art Building, the Business Administration Building, the M.A.C. Center and the fourth floor of the Library. The Michael Schwartz Center roof will be replaced along with some windows. The majority of the roof of The Music and Speech Center will also be replaced.


Four restroom facilities at Dix Stadium will also be renovated this summer. Updated plumbing fixtures, toilet partitions, lighting and accessories will be installed. Euclide said ventilation will be installed to provide heat in the restrooms.


Shower rooms in four residence halls will be renovated this summer. Restrooms in Allyn, Manchester, Dunbar and Leebrick Halls will be rebuilt as private toilet and shower rooms. Each individual shower room will have a shower, sink and toilet, Euclide said.


Allerton Apartment Buildings G and H will be demolished this summer. Both apartments have been closed for the past year. Dynasty Deconstruction, which has a contract to remove salvageable materials from Terrace Hall, will also remove and recycle materials from the apartments before demolition, Euclide said. For a complete list of construction projects visit the Office of the University Architect's Web site at www.kent.edu/universityarchitect.


Contact buildings and grounds reporter Jennifer Mussig at jemussig@kent.edu.



From the 3/21/06 Daily Kent Stater:



New studio space being built in Tri-Towers

By: Jennifer Mussig

Issue date: 3/21/06 Section: News


The second floor of the Tri-Towers rotunda will be renovated this summer to create more studio space for the College of Architecture and Environmental Design.


The empty space used to be a dining hall and kitchen area which closed in 2003.


Two architecture studios are currently in the design phase, said Tom Euclide, director of architecture and engineering.


Each studio will have 50 drafting tables. Other possible amenities include a spray room and work room for model building and projects which require students to use paint and glue, Euclide said. A couple small offices will be built for the faculty managing studio classes.


The dividing walls between studios will be moveable so the space can be used as two separate studios or one large studio, Euclide said. Two other rooms will be built to hold 25 students each, he added. The extra space will most likely be used for interior design or art studios, but any studio program could request the space, he added.


The floor will be accessible only to students using the studio space. Euclide said a security system will be installed to ensure the general public doesn't find a way in to damage student projects. A camera security system will be installed as well, he added.


The total cost of the renovation is $800,000. The architecture studios will most likely be ready for use by the end of August, Euclide said. A number of details still need to be decided before any final plans can be made for the studio space, said Justin Hilton, assistant professor of architecture and environmental design. The School of Architecture became the College of Architecture and Environmental Design at the beginning of 2006, he added.


"We're in a transition period from school to college," Hilton said. "Because of this transition, we, as a college, don't have definite plans on how to use the new studio space yet."


For students in the architecture program, a studio in Tri-Towers means a cup of coffee is just a short elevator ride away.


"A studio in Tri-Towers would mean you can actually go upstairs to bed or grab a cup of coffee from Rosie's," junior architecture major Ashley Stenger said. "You never have to leave."


Contact buildings and grounds reporter Jennifer Mussig at jemussig@kent.edu.




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From the 5/3/06 Daily Kent Stater:



Allerton Apartment buildings G and H to be torn down this summer

By: Jennifer Mussig

Issue date: 5/3/06 Section: News


There is a saying that one man's trash is another man's treasure. Dynasty Deconstruction is busy sorting through the would-be trash of Allerton Apartment Buildings G and H looking for metals and other hidden treasures before the buildings are demolished this summer.


A crew of eight men bounce back and forth between Terrace Hall and Allerton Apartments removing furniture and precious metals such as copper, aluminum and brass, said Keith Ludwig, president and owner of Dynasty Deconstruction. Deconstruction, or taking a building apart and recycling the materials, helps send less material to landfills.


Low demand for housing plus a high price to renovate led to the university's decision to demolish the buildings, said David Creamer, vice president for administration.


"It would be cheaper to build new buildings than to renovate the existing buildings," Creamer said. "However, we don't consider new construction viable because most families are looking for lower-cost housing options."


Since there are a number of lower-cost apartment options near the campus, there isn't as much of a need for the university to offer such apartments today as there was when Allerton Apartments was initially constructed, Creamer said.


As a building approaches 40 years old, the building's mechanical systems have typically reached the end of their lifespan, said Mike Bruder, assistant director for architecture and engineering. Allerton Apartment buildings G and H required the most amount of work because of decaying piping, sanitary waste lines and heating lines. The electrical systems needed to be upgraded as well.


Demolition will start in July or August, and it will cost about $200,000, Bruder said. Deconstruction will help offset the cost of demolition. Half of the profit Dynasty Deconstruction makes from recycling and selling building materials goes back to the university.


After three weeks of work, Dynasty Deconstruction made about $6,000 which will be split 50/50 with the university, Ludwig said.


"Residence Services is pleased that material will be recycled, and that the institution is being environmentally responsible in how we approach deconstruction and demolition of these halls," said Residence Services Director Betsy Joseph.


At the moment there are no plans to replace the buildings, Bruder said. However the space will be available if there is a need in the future.


Contact buildings and grounds reporter Jennifer Mussig at jemussig@kent.edu.




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From the 6/21/06 Daily Kent Stater:



Allerton buildings G and H will be demolished in July

Issue date: 6/21/06 Section: News


Apartment complex are likely set for demolition in late July, said Mike Bruder, assistant director for the Office of the University Architect.


"Right now, we're doing asbestos abatement inside," Bruder said.


B & B Wrecking & Excavating, Inc., the construction company contracted to demolish the buildings, is clearing buildings G and H of asbestos to prevent it from becoming airborne during demolition of the two buildings.


Allerton apartment manager Brian Hellwig said the buildings are about 40 years old and have outlived their life span.


"They've had problems with mechanical and electrical systems that are just deteriorated," Bruder said.


Tom Euclide, director for the Office of the University Architect, said the decision to demolish the buildings was made because maintenance could become too costly.


"It was going to take far more money to renovate the buildings than we could economically justify," Euclide said.


Euclide also said there are no plans to rebuild the buildings. The area where they are located will be "grassed over" by the planting season in the fall, he added.


No roads are expected to be closed during construction, but the parking lot near the two buildings will be.


"The buildings have been vacant for about a year and the parking lot is not really being used anyway, so it shouldn't be a problem," Bruder said.


"The students living in buildings G and H were relocated to other apartments in the Allerton Complex about a year ago," Hellwig said.


The project is expected to be completed by the fall.


- Kurt Jakub




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From the 6/28/06 Daily Kent Stater:



PHOTO: Nate Ward, foreman of Dynasty Deconstruction, breaks the glass out of a door while deconstructing Terrace Hall. Dynasty recycles 86 percent of the buildings it deconstructs, said Dynasty director Keith M. Ludwig. The company sells building materials to scrap and gives 50 percent back to Kent State.  MICHELE ROEHRIG | SUMMER KENT STATER


Terrace demolition set to begin

Kurt Jakub

Posted: 6/28/06


Like Johnson and Stopher halls before it, Terrace Hall is coming down starting July 7, said Mike Bruder, assistant director for the Office of the University Architect.


However, only the residence hall is being demolished. The annexes of Terrace, which accommodate the Human Resources offices and ROTC, will remain, according to the Office of the University Architect's Web site.


Dynasty Deconstruction recently completed asbestos abatement in the section of the building set for demolition. Power was disconnected last Thursday to that part of the building making it safe for demolition.


"Our deconstruction contractor (Dynasty Deconstruction) is in there pulling out all the copper which will get salvaged," Bruder said. "The university gets some of the proceeds from the salvaged materials."


Keith Ludwig, president and owner of Dynasty Deconstruction, is salvaging other useful material, such as metals, and selling it along with his crew of eight employees handling the Terrace deconstruction.


His company and Kent State will split the profits 50-50. Ludwig said furniture and other usable materials from Terrace were sold in May, a success for both his company and Kent State.


"I've educated Kent on how to help the environment," Ludwig said. "I've also taught them how to make some extra money."


Bruder said once Terrace is demolished, a parking lot will take its place. He said the lot will have about 200 spaces.


"The lot is going to be a major stop for PARTA," Bruder said. "We're putting in a bus-only lane to improve their time around campus and to encourage people to take the bus."


Bruder said there will also be a significant amount of bike storage in the lot, making it a great transfer point for students to switch from their bikes to the bus.


Along with the parking lot, Midway and Terrace drives will be widened to accommodate two exit lanes onto state Route 59.


"There's sometimes a traffic jam at 5 o'clock, so we'll be able to get traffic out more efficiently," Bruder said.


He said construction on Midway and Terrace drives will begin in late July.


Neither road should be closed during construction, but they will most likely be down to one lane with a flagger directing traffic.


In addition to salvaging materials and furniture, Ludwig will also sell bricks from the building as a memento to former occupants of Terrace Hall.


"We've got about 300 orders for bricks so far," Ludwig said. He added that the bricks will be available for shipping in three to four weeks, and that some alumni have purchased bricks from as far away as California, Wisconsin and Indiana.


Construction of the parking lot will stretch into the fall semester and will most likely be finished by October, Bruder said.


Anyone interested in purchasing a brick for $1 can contact Ludwig at (216)-253-9601 or through e-mail at dynastyeagles@yahoo.com.


Contact buildings, grounds and transportation reporter Kurt Jakub at kjakub@kent.edu.




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From the 7/5/06 Daily Kent Stater:



PHOTO: Cavanaugh Building Corp., S.A. Comunale, Inc. and Thompson Electric, Inc. are handling mechanical, plumbing and electrical upgrades being set for installation in Franklin Hall. Franklin Hall, soon to be the home of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, is set to open in Fall 2007.  PHOTO COURTESY OF JAY FRYE | SPECIAL TO THE SUMMER KENT STATER


Franklin Hall gets makeover

By: Kurt Jakub

Issue date: 7/5/06 Section: News


Makeovers are all the rage these days, and Franklin Hall is joining in on the fun.


A 20,000-square-foot addition will be added to the 80-year-old building that will house the School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Renovations are also being made to the existing structure, said Beth Ruffing, assistant director of capital design and construction for the Office of the University Architect. The entire building will be about 80,000 square feet.


"We're doing a little bit of demolition," Ruffing said.


In addition to the demolition, Ruffing said workers are cutting openings in the floors and in the roof to do duct work and implement mechanical equipment.


Ruffing said mechanical, plumbing and electrical upgrades are set for installation in the existing structure. Cavanaugh Building Corp., S.A. Comunale, Inc. and Thompson Electric, Inc. are handling these procedures, said Mike Bruder, assistant director for the Office of the University Architect.


"There has been a lot of work done cleaning and tuck pointing the exterior," Ruffing said. "At the same time, they are excavating for the foundations for the new addition."


Ruffing said there seems to be some kind of aquifer -?an underground quarry of sorts -?where the addition will go, making for soupy conditions. She said they are trying to deal with the water right now.


The addition to the building will be three floors while the existing building has four.


"Franklin Hall will get an elevator finally, which it didn't have before," Bruder said.


A new entry foyer from Lincoln Street will allow access to the first floor, featuring a hall of fame and museum, which will include JMC memorabilia and information about alumni, and a wall of video screens showing news from around the world. Bruder said the first floor will also include new features, such as a digital darkroom for photography students, a video editing bay and a computer lab.


The Carl E. Hirsch Media Technology Laboratory, currently located in the Music and Speech building, will be relocated to the second floor of the existing portion of Franklin, Bruder said. Computer labs and classrooms will occupy the remainder of the existing structure.


The new addition will feature a converged newsroom for Kent State's student media on the second floor. The third floor of the addition will house another computer lab and the FirstEnergy Interactive Auditorium. Ruffing said the auditorium was donated by the FirstEnergy Foundation and will be used as a 150-seat lecture hall where students can use wireless technology to share Web sites, news broadcasts and other forms of media through networked computers, projection screens and televisions.


She said the building will be stocked with all sorts of new technology, such as state-of-the-art computers, projection screens, audio/visual systems and high-definition televisions.


Bruder said parking will be available in a small lot off Lincoln Street and in the Rockwell parking lot.


Franklin Hall is expected to be open for Fall 2007. A countdown clock can be seen on the JMC Web site, jmc.kent.edu.


Franklin Hall was built in 1926 and originally named after William A. Cluff, a secretary of the Board of Trustees. It was renamed Franklin Hall in 1956 after Franklin Mills, the original name for the city of Kent.


Contact buildings, grounds and transportation reporter Kurt Jakub at kjakub@kent.edu.



• A 20,000-square-foot addition will be added to the 80-year-old building.

• The new hall will include an elevator.

• A hall of fame and museum will include JMC memorabilia and information about alumni.

• It was built in 1926 and is one of the campus' original buildings.

• New features will include a digital darkroom, video editing bay and computer lab.




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From the 7/12/06 Daily Kent Stater:



Renovations rejuvenate Student Center Ballroom

By: Kurt Jakub

Issue date: 7/12/06 Section: News


Just like Franklin Hall, the Kent Student Center Ballroom is receiving alterations this summer.


"Essentially, the Ballroom was a big brown box before," said Jacqueline Parsons, executive director for the Kent Student Center.


Parsons said changes are underway for an improved and updated Ballroom. Renovations are set for a new appearance, a fire suppression system, better lighting and superior sound quality.


"Pretty much all of the finishes will be redone or refreshed," said Beth Ruffing, assistant director of capital design and construction for the Office of the University Architect. "All of the walls currently have old wood paneling, and all of that will be replaced with something new."


Ruffing said an acoustical study took place in the Ballroom. The study showed the acoustics were "too live."


"We are putting in a lot of fabric-faced acoustic panels to improve the sound," Ruffing said.


Parsons said the panels will be blue and gold to match Kent State's colors. She said that the panels will be covered in fabric to give the Ballroom a new look.


Two illuminated Kent State seals will appear on the walls on both sides of the front platform.


"The seals will be a statement that when you enter the Ballroom, it is the Kent State Ballroom, not the Hyatt," Parsons said.


The balcony will receive soundproof moveable partitions, which will allow the balcony to be used independently from the rest of the Ballroom.


"We can have two functions going on simultaneously as long as it's not a loud concert and a guest speaker," Parsons said.


Ruffing said new flooring and seating are scheduled for installation, but the capacity of the Ballroom will not be affected.


The ceiling's appearance and acoustic quality will also be improved, Ruffing said.


"The whole ceiling is very distracting; it's two-tone colors," she said. "To improve the ceiling we will add acoustical ceiling tile in the coffers and we will add down-lighting."


Ruffing said the Ballroom had up-lighting, which gives the ballroom a dreary appearance. The down-lighting will give the Ballroom a fresh, modern look, she claimed.


In addition to updating the Ballroom's appearance, Ruffing said they are planning to install a new sound system.


The audio/visual booth in the Ballroom is also scheduled for renovation. The control booth will be relocated from the side of the stage to the back of the room, Parsons said. The operator inside the booth will now be able to view the stage in order to operate changes in lighting or sound more efficiently, she said."Everything in the control booth will be electronically set up so it will be easy to use," Ruffing said. "Everything will be controlled with the push of a button."


The renovations will be completed by October, Parsons said.


Contact buildings, grounds and transportation reporter Kurt Jakub at kjakub@kent.edu.




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From the 7/19/06 Daily Kent Stater:



Construction to limit lanes on Midway, Terrace

By: Kurt Jakub

Issue date: 7/19/06 Section: News


Midway and Terrace drives will be down to one lane in the next few weeks, adding to the laundry list of construction projects that the university is undertaking this summer.


In conjunction with the new Midway parking lot, which will be located where Terrace Hall used to be, Midway and Terrace drives will be widened to accommodate heavier traffic, said Tom Clapper, general manager of Transportation Services.


"This parking lot (Midway) is built around the idea of it being a traffic-control mechanism," Clapper said. "The improvements to Midway and Terrace are going to really help us reduce some of the congestion, and I also believe it will help us achieve our goal of starting to minimize negative impacts on the nearby residential areas."


Both Midway and Terrace drives will have two outbound lanes - one for traffic moving left onto state Route 59 and one for traffic moving left after construction, as well as one inbound lane, said Mike Bruder, assistant director for the Office of the University Architect.


"At Midway, the current two-lane road will become the exiting lanes," Bruder said. "The row of trees that are there will stay and act as a boulevard in the center of the road, similar to 59, which has the boulevard in the center of the road."


Bruder said construction will begin once certain sections of Terrace Hall are demolished, making the area safe to undergo roadwork.


"We're trying to minimize any negative impacts this parking lot may have on to the residential areas located off of 59," Clapper said. "We're addressing that in terms of light control so headlights don't shine in people's houses, as well as noise control with bushes and other vegetation so it lessens the sounds of traffic going to the nearby residential area."


Clapper said the entire area will be altered to improve both vehicular and pedestrian traffic.


"A couple of things are happening at the same time," Clapper said. "We have the parking lot, the widening of Midway and Terrace, and we're enhancing pedestrian movement."


Clapper said the sidewalks near Main Street will be moved farther away from the street. Bus shelters will be placed along the walkways, and a significant stop will be located in the Midway parking lot. Clapper said he hopes this will encourage more people to walk or ride bikes to campus and use PARTA to get around.


"The Esplanade showed us one thing," Clapper said, referring to the large pedestrian walkway from Franklin Hall to the Student Center. "Once the infrastructure is put in to support pedestrian movement across campus in the easiest and fastest way, people start to choose it."


Clapper said the plan is to keep improving traffic, both from cars and pedestrians, around the campus as well as the entire city of Kent.


"We want to keep emphasizing pedestrian movement and transit movements around campus and around the city," Clapper said. "So when we build something like this parking lot, we put in these infrastructures like bus stops and pedestrian walkways to support all these other modes of transportation."


Bruder said the construction on Midway and Terrace drives should be completed by the beginning of fall semester.


Contact buildings, grounds and transportation reporter Kurt Jakub at kjakub@kent.edu.



From same:



University looks into land purchase for extra parking

Issue date: 7/19/06 Section: News


Kent State has shown "possible interest" in buying part of an 18-acre plot of land from the city of Kent, said Tom Clapper, general manager of transportation services. The land is located on the southwest corner of Summit Street and Rootstown Road.


If the agreement is made, the university will likely use the land for extra parking for football games.


This may be especially important because high-proile teams, such as Big Ten Conference member Minnesota, will play the Golden Flashes at Dix Stadium this season, potentially attracting a larger-than-normal audience.


Proposals for the land were due May 31, but none were received. After that date, the city received three proposals: two from private couples and one from Kent State.


"If we could work something out, we could be interested," Clapper said. He added that the negotiation has been limited to a conversation.


The city has yet to re-contact the university about the matter.


- Dan Stroble




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From the 8/10/06 Daily Kent Stater:



Music and Speech building next in line for renovations

By: Kurt Jakub

Issue date: 8/10/06 Section: News


The Music and Speech Building is yet another structure on campus set for renovations.


The Office of the University Architect is looking for architects and engineers to design the renovation, said Mike Bruder, assistant director for the office of the University Architect.


Tom Euclide, director for the office of the University Architect, said all of the proposals for choosing an architect are in.


"We're hoping to have an architect on board in the fall," Bruder said.


The D-wing area of the building, which is currently used as a loading dock, will be receiving the most attention during renovations, Bruder added.


Kent State received a $6.5 million donation from the Roe Green Foundation to update the building, Euclide said. Many of the renovations will cater to the School of Theatre and Dance.


"The dance program is going to be under the same roof as theater now," Bruder said.


Bruder said the Music and Speech Building will receive some new dance studios, classrooms, a large lecture hall and possibly a cafe.


Euclide said they will also add new amenities to the theater department, including a "black-box" theater.


The building, originally built in 1961, can no longer handle the size of its occupants.


"When the building was built they had about 75 majors," Bruder said. "They have 300 now, four times the size they were, so the students are pretty cramped in there."


Bruder said some of the existing classrooms need improvements.


"They have a lot of lab-specific classes, such as classes for lighting, costuming and set-building," Bruder said. "Some of the spaces need improvement, like better ventilation and additional costume storage."


Euclide said construction is set to begin in the fall of 2007.


"Construction will take about two years to finish," Bruder said.


Contact buildings, grounds and transportation reporter Kurt Jakub at kjakub@kent.edu.




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Follow the link at the end to see a short Flash slideshow.


From the 8/30/06 Daily Kent Stater:



PHOTO: Aerial view of newly built Stopher Johnson Hall, home of the Honors College.  BRIAN MARKS | DAILY KENT STATER


MAP: Construction on campus


New semester, new surroundings

Elise Franco

Issue date: 8/30/06 Section: News


As another fall semester begins, and sidewalks and benches start to fill up, students may notice some major changes this year on Kent State's campus.


Over the past year, several campus projects have been or are almost completed, including the rebuilding of Stopher and Johnson Halls and turning them into the new Honors College facility, the demolition of Terrace Hall to be made into a commuter parking lot, and the resurrection of the refurbished Kent State University Archway.


The archway, which was donated to Kent State by the class of 1956, originally stood at the entrance of Midway Drive. It remained there until 2003 when it was taken down for repairs, said Thomas Euclide, director of the office of the University Architect.


"We took it down for two reasons," he said. "One, because it had become a danger to traffic, and two, because the pillars were badly damaged. Busses and trucks that took the turn into Midway too sharply would hit the pillars."


The landmark's new home is now Janik Drive, directly between Bowman Hall and the Business Administration Building.


Euclide said the new location is a great addition to the other recent renovations in the area.


"We liked the combination of the new Honors College and the esplanade with it," he said. "It gives a great entry point into that whole area."


The esplanade is the new walkway starting at Risman Plaza and stretching between the Business Administration Building and Van Deusen Hall, passing along Kent Hall and the Carol A. Cartwright Auditorium. It will end with the completion of Franklin Hall next fall.


Several Kent State students have already noticed the changes as they walk across campus.


Beth Watson, junior psychology major, said she passes under the archway on her way to class every day.


"I saw it the other day," she said. "It makes the campus look very welcoming."


Watson also said she thinks the completed Honors College looks great and is excited to see what the inside looks like.


Michael Bruder, assistant director of the office of the University Architect, said the Stopher/Johnson/Honors College project had been two and a half years in the making.


"Overall, the construction went very smoothly," he said. "We finished on time and under budget.


"The Honors College looks great. It has great furniture, more space, more classrooms and wireless coverage throughout the entire facility and even in some places outside."


Still in the works is the future parking lot where Terrace Hall previously stood.


The lot will include visitor parking meters, enclosed shelters and a designated bus lane from Terrace Drive to Midway Drive so campus buses don't have to go out onto state Route 59, Euclide said.


Bruder said the new commuter parking lot, called the C-Midway Lot, is set to open in late October.


"I think the new parking lot is going to be great," David Lucci, junior speech pathology major, said. "I just bought a C pass this year, and I was so nervous on the first day of class that I wouldn't be able to find a place to park."


"It will be nice to have more commuter parking spaces, which I think will encourage students to go to class," he said.


Euclide said other current campus projects include gutting and updating bathrooms in every residence hall and renovating the Student Center Ballroom to give it a more contemporary look.


Contact general assignment reporter Elise Franco at efranco@kent.edu.




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From the 9/11/06 Daily Kent Stater:



Park proposed at Allerton demolished building site

Colin McEwen

Issue date: 9/11/06 Section: News


Non-traditional student Hal Donley hopes Kent State makes a decision on the fate of a park in the area where Allerton Apartment buildings G and H used to stand.


He has two daughters -?a 10-year-old and a 2-year-old -?who would enjoy playing in the proposed park.


"It would be nice for them to have a bigger place to play," said Donley, who is studying architecture.


Allerton Apartments manager Brian Hellwig said he and Residence Services are exploring the options, but a public park for the area is at the forefront of the discussions.


"We want to make [the park] a nice place for people to go, with maybe a public pavilion," Hellwig said. "The park would be more for the families. Maybe we could also put in a grill or two."


Several university officials have said construction of a park is the only plan so far for the property. The plans for rebuilding on the land are hindered only by finances.


"There could be budgetary limitations," said senior fiscal manager Rick Schneiderman. "Definitely, a park would be nice, if that's what we could do."


Betsy Joseph, director of residence services, said a park with a pavilion is being discussed, but she is unsure if the Allerton site is the best location.


"We are talking with university architects and investigating our options," Joseph said.


Mike Bruder, assistant director of architecture and engineering, estimates the costs of building a park at $20,000.


"It's expensive in some ways, but smaller than many other projects," he said.


He added there is no time table for a possible park and no immediate plans, but plans to iron out the details over the coming weeks.


Hellwig said the demolished buildings were old and worn, and there was "less demand for family-type housing."


He noted the newly refurbished basketball courts and colorful mural on an old tennis wall across the street as a recreation area for Allerton residents.


Most residents of Allerton Apartments are families, faculty and graduate students, he said.


Until the plans are finished, Donley said his two daughters will continue to play in the older, existing park.


Contact non-traditional student reporter Colin McEwen at cmcewen@kent.edu.




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From the 9/22/06 Daily Kent Stater:





Oscar Ritchie Hall will receive a facelift

David Yochum

Issue date: 9/22/06 Section: News


By Fall 2008, the dark, shadowy building on the front of campus will have a face.


It will be a face with two stories of glass eyes, clear enough to see the old body that changed from the inside out.


And that old body will still rely on its 57-year-old heart to teach history and change.


Oscar Ritchie Hall, which houses the department of Pan-African studies and the Center for Pan-African Culture, will undergo a $10 million renovation, beginning next summer, said Beth Ruffing, assistant director of architecture and engineering.


Renovation plans and illustrations show a virtual gutting of the entire building, making room for the addition of a two-story lobby entrance, a glass-walled art gallery, a new library and computer lab, elevator, reshaped classrooms, lecture halls, offices, seminar rooms and even a visiting artist studio. The architecture firm designing the renovations is Moody Nolan, Inc.


Students in Oscar Ritchie Hall will also benefit from the conveniences of skylights, an air conditioning system, tinted windows, plush study areas, wireless Internet, four plasma televisions and a long-awaited new roof.


"We want to bring in more light, which is hard because so much of the building is below grade," Ruffing said. "The layout of the building had a lot to do with how to utilize space. Not a lot of people like to live underground."


Interior hallways of Oscar Ritchie Hall, most of which are covered in artwork, will be completely torn down and reshaped to incorporate a circular African design theme.


Fran Dorsey, associate professor of Pan-African studies, said the artwork adorning the walls has been digitally photographed and touched up by a professional photographer. The art can then be printed on a number of materials and re-hung anywhere after renovation.


Ruffing said she feels the biggest challenge to the renovation has been coming up with a concept and meeting the budget. She explained the structure and columns of the building limited renovation options.


Dorsey is excited to see student reaction to Oscar Ritchie Hall's renovation plans, but she said she believes one of the biggest obstacles was getting the renovation off the ground.


"The university has been saying this will be renovated for 10 years - they kept saying be patient and we've been patient," Dorsey said. "The roof in this building has leaked since I came (to Oscar Ritchie Hall) in 1979."


Kevin Gibson, vice president of Black United Students, agreed.


"There were two protests to get action because the university kept giving us the run-around," he said. "This should have happened years ago."


A look around Oscar Ritchie Hall reveals broken tiles as well as outdated bathrooms and classroom facilities, which only begin to show the building's age. Dorsey said the university only installed air conditioning on the third floor three years ago, after ongoing complaints by faculty.


Sasha Parker, BUS president, said that the building's condition should have been addressed sooner, but she said it's important to make sure the heritage of the structure remains.


"I think a lot of the university has viewed Oscar Ritchie Hall as expendable, but it should be publicized more and be made more diverse," she said. "Black students have respect for the building and view it as a safe haven."


One of the only sections of Oscar Ritchie Hall that won't receive a major facelift is the second floor Pan-African theater. The theater was renovated in 1998, but Dorsey said it will receive a new double-door entrance, built-in makeup tables and improved storage space. A new ticket area will also be added.


Contact minority affairs reporter David Yochum at yochumda@kent.edu.




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A quick visit to Kent recently took me past the entrance to campus on Midway Dr. I was disappointed to see a masterplan proudly displayed at the corner of Midway and Main St. announcing Terrace Hall's new replacement... a 160 space parking lot. Hardly enough spaces to solve the campus parking problem, and poorly located along Main St. at one of the entrances to campus. I can't say I find much logic in replacing a 500ish-bed residence hall with a 160 space parking lot. I'd like to see campus greenspace or plans for future construction.


If anything, I wouldn't consider this new parking lot a point of pride that needs to be displayed on a posterboard.


In related Midway Dr. news, I'm glad to see the Kent State University Archway finding its way back onto campus, and safe from the buses that would cut Midway's curb dangerously close. Hope to get back to campus sometime soon to see some of the new construction.

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From the 11/7/06 ABJ:



KSU group wants May 4 visitors center

Task force requests first floor of Taylor Hall near site of 1970 shootings. Space already promised to others

By Carol Biliczky

Beacon Journal staff writer


A Kent State student organization has asked the university to establish a visitors center to preserve the memory of May 4.


Ideally, the center would occupy the first floor of Taylor Hall, which overlooks the site where four students were killed and nine wounded by Ohio National Guardsmen during a Vietnam War protest on May 4, 1970, said John Behnken Jr., president of the May 4 Task Force...




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Both from the 11/14/06 Daily Kent Stater:



PHOTO: Construction on the C-Midway lot is expected to be completed by Nov. 27.  SEAN DAUGHERTY | DAILY KENT STATER


C-Midway lot nears completion

Erica Weisburn

Issue date: 11/14/06 Section: News


Despite unexpected delays, the Office of University Architect expects construction of the Midway commuter lot to be finished Nov. 27.


Michael Bruder, assistant director for the Office of University Architect, said the original late October opening date had been pushed back because of weather conditions and foundation problems.


"September had record breaking rainfall which held us up a bit," he said. "It has been our biggest problem."


Bruder said foundation issues with the northeast corner of the remaining portion of Terrace Hall — the ROTC building also halted progress.


"We modified the original plan when we realized a new foundation for that portion of the building had to be built."


The C-Midway lot project began on July 20 to create about 200 new parking spaces, most of which will be for commuter students.


Senior education major Maggie Larke has been anticipating the opening of the C-Midway lot all semester.


Class projects require her to dress up on Monday and Tuesday. Most Tuesdays she would rather walk a mile from home to class because it's more convenient than searching for an open commuter space.


"I'm sick of walking to White Hall from the Music and Speech lot in high heels," Larke said. "I hope the new lot will make my C-permit more useful."


Tom Clapper, senior assistant to the vice president of administration, said that more C-permits will be sold in the spring to better utilize the new lot.


"But, for the first semester we are going to be cautious until we see what the trends are," he said.


Senior education major Tricia Bonds hopes the new lot will clear out the C-lot behind Verder Hall.


Bonds is an Engleman Hall resident and is allotted a row to use her S-35 pass in that lot.


"Some commuters park in the S-35 spaces when their parking spaces are filled," she said.


I hope the new lot minimizes, if not eliminates that temptation, Bonds said.


Tiffany Rose, senior early childhood education major, drives 45 minutes from Warren to class. Due to parking issues, she leaves home an hour early to get to arrive in time, she said.


"My Tuesday classes begin at 11 a.m. and it's nearly impossible to find a spot at that time."


Rose thinks the C-Midway lot will better help her get to class on time.


"Any more parking we have is better than nothing," she said. "I'm just ready for it to be finished."


Contact transportation reporter Erica Weisburn at eweisbur@kent.edu.



Sheetz and the C-lot: A tale of two sites

Adam Milasincic

Issue date: 11/14/06 Section: News


Exactly 134 Kent State students want to know: How can Sheetz construct a gas-station superstore in less time than university officials can pave a dirt lot?


The students are members of a group on Facebook that pokes fun at differences between two high-profile construction projects in Kent.


"Are you stalking people in your car for a parking spot near Taylor or the Art Building?" the site asks. "Have you happened to notice that an entire Sheetz was constructed out of a swamp before our new parking lot was level enough to pave?"


Sheetz crews began work on the store's new state Route 59 location in early July. By late September, they had completed a brick building that includes a car wash, a fast food restaurant and a large, canopied bay of gas pumps.


Also in early July, Cavanaugh Construction demolished the former Terrace Hall building at Kent State to make way for a 330-by-360-foot commuter parking lot. As Sheetz hosted its grand opening, the Terrace Hall site remained covered with dirt mounds and bulldozers.


Kara Solinsky, senior visual communication design major, created the Facebook group dedicated to this quandary after driving past the future commuter lot with friends.


"We saw the sign saying 'Opens Fall 2006,' and that's going to be over pretty soon," she said. "We just thought it was weird how they built a whole Sheetz which includes underground tanks and a restaurant before the new c-lot was even paved."


Since the group, named "An ENTIRE SHEETZ was built before the new C-LOT was even paved," was created, it has drawn joking comments from students both enthralled with the Sheetz menu of "made-to-order" food and irked by the unavailability of parking on portions of north campus.


"I'm excited to have a new Sheetz and a new commuter lot," Solinsky said. "It's all in good fun. I don't want anyone to hate me."


Once completed, the new parking lot will feature 172 spaces for commuter students' cars, said Michael Bruder, who coordinated the project for the university architect's office. Progress was weather-dependent.


"If we've got a week of rain, that pushes things," he said.


The additional space is expected to significantly reduce congestion around north campus academic buildings, where many students search in vain for parking between peak times from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, said parking services manager Larry Emling.


"During the day, I still expect (spaces) to be in high demand," Emling said. "They're still going to move over to Music and Speech during peak hours, but it will also ease parking for people coming to White Hall for 4 p.m. classes."


Emling's department, which is funded entirely by student parking fees, paid nearly $3.1 million for the new lot, which amounts to about $7,400 per completed parking spot. The Terrace Hall lot is likely to be the last expansion of parking on north campus because few additional sites are available there, Emling said.


Bruder said comparisons between the parking lot and the Sheetz project are perhaps comical, but not especially relevant. Because the university is state-operated, it faces extra months of regulatory requirements, he said. Additionally, the Terrace Hall lot took longer to finish because of the extensive excavation required to uproot the building's former foundation.


"No two projects are alike from the private sector to the public sector," Bruder said. "We have (state) regulations that do take longer in terms of situations like bidding and advertising and contracts and things. ... The work itself in general should take about the same amount of time."


Sheetz builds around 20 new stores each year, but the company features more variation in its sandwiches than in its facilities. That consistency allows construction crews to complete a new store in a strict 15-week schedule, said Doug Knisely, the construction manager for the Kent Sheetz.


"There's minor changes here and there," Knisely said. "Seating areas and restaurant size and that type of thing."


Each Sheetz store features a brick veneer and contains no pre-fabricated parts, but the company's business model allows for fast turnaround times, Knisely said. After construction is completed, only one week of stocking and employee training remains before a grand opening.


"We have the same typical design, and we've got a pretty good handle on the schedule," Knisely said. "I put one of my guys in the field to manage the subs and the general contractor. They help put the schedule together and the timing of the subs coming in, and that really adds to the speed of the project."


Sheetz, based in Altoona, Pa., is rapidly expanding its presence in northeast Ohio and elsewhere, Knisely said.


Contact StaterOnline correspondent Adam Milasincic at amilasin@kent.edu.




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www.kentnewsnet.com/media/storage/paper867/news/2008/09/16/News/Lefton.Sees.Need.For.More.beautiful.Spaces-3432537.shtml]Lefton sees need for more 'beautiful spaces'[/url]

Landscaping plans in works for Kent Campus

Ben Wolford

Issue date: 9/16/08 Section: News


Risman Plaza and other areas on Kent Campus will go under the shovel within the next decade, guided by President Lester Lefton's landscaping credo, "less concrete, more trees."


Contact administration reporter Ben Wolford at bwolfor2@kent.edu.

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Not KSU news, but still relevant.


www.kentnewsnet.com/media/storage/paper867/news/2009/05/05/News/Houses.Fall.For.Downtown.Kents.Revitalization.Project-3736332.shtml]Houses fall for downtown Kent's revitalization project[/url]

Ted Hamilton

Issue date: 5/5/09 Section: News


An excavation crew began demolishing houses that stood off of Route 59 yesterday.


- Ted Hamilton

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Yes, it is the Music and Speech Center. It is being remodeled and added to to create the Roe Green Center of Theater and Dance.


Here is an article that gives more detail about what is happening:


www.kentnewsnet.com/media/storage/paper867/news/2009/04/03/News/Construction.Continues.On.Roe.Green.Center-3696145.shtml]Construction continues on Roe Green Center[/url]

DKS Editors

Issue date: 4/3/09 Section: News


The construction and renovation of the Roe Green Center and the Music and Speech Center resumed at the beginning of March with the end of winter weather.


- Sara Petersen

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