Article by Steven Litt
Kent State University has launched a two-year, $33.5 million construction project involving renovation and new construction that will bring its visual arts program under one roof for the first time since 1960.
The Center for the Visual Arts will be the new home for KSU’s School of Art, and it will include the renovation of Van Deusen Hall and the Art Annex, formerly the university’s heating plant.
Both existing buildings will be linked with new construction.
The new arts complex is part of a series of projects at KSU including a new architecture school building, for which the university broke ground Friday.
In all, the new visual arts facility will contain more than 115,000 square feet of space, including 77,000 square feet of renovation and nearly 38,000 square feet of new construction.
The project, scheduled for completion by the spring of 2016, is aiming for a Silver rating under the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED program, short for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.
Payto Architects of Cleveland is the designer of the expansion and renovation project.
The university says the facility “will provide high-tech workspaces as well as state-of-the-art equipment for students and faculty.”
The building’s design encompasses a new main lobby with access to a main gallery and two student galleries. It will provide public areas and hallways, informal gathering areas and seating with charging stations. The complex will also include studios for after-school and weekend art classes for children in Kent.
Full time art faculty at KSU include painters Martin Ball, Darice Polo and Gianna Commito; ceramist Eva Kwong; printmaker Michael Loderstedt; and sculptor Paul O’Keeffe.