Kent State Revisits Gateway Master Plan After Pandemic Postpones Construction

The Kent Campus Gateway Master Plan was supposed to bring over $100 million dollars worth of renovations and new buildings to campus over the past two years.

Yet much of the work planned for Phase 1 was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

 “We put all of our construction on hold except for two ongoing projects, which was the science research expansion that was happening at Cunningham,” said Joseph Graham, the university architect at Kent State. “And then the Hub project, which was also well under construction.”

Phase 1 of the master plan also included a parking deck on front campus near the Women’s Center, which is the only project canceled at the moment.

 “We’d be paying back about $1.5 million a year for the next 30 years,” said Larry Emling, director of Parking Services. “So that was a large debt to take on.”

Instead, the $29 million allocated for the parking deck will now go to three other projects on campus, including an addition onto the Aeronautics and Engineering Building.

“The second project was the College of Business Administration [building],” said Graham. “And the third project is the Ice Arena and marching band education facility.”

Emilng said the parking deck may be revisited when the plans for the business building are brought back.

“If the plan for that develops into the future,” Emling said, “Then we would adjust parking to accommodate that building on the front part of campus. “

 But for now – the university hopes to break ground at the aeronautics building by the end of the year.

And at the end of the spring semester, construction will begin on a Rockwell Hall addition.

Graham said the university is also finalizing the process for White Hall renovations, which include remodels to the building’s H-VAC system.

The university received 30 million dollars in in state capital funding for the construction, and 63 million in investment earnings will also be used.