Kent residents will have to wait a little longer than expected to learn which design Kent State University officials and a jury of experts have picked for the school's $40 million new building for the College of Architecture and Environmental Design.
KSU spokeswoman Emily Vincent said Friday the results of the design competition, which is down to four finalists, will be announced in March, not February as originally planned.
KSU officials said the brief delay, due to the scope of the analysis the university has to do on all four designs, will not change plans for the building to open for class fall semester 2015. Utility work for the site, located on university's Esplanade walkway expansion that runs between the northwest edge of campus and the downtown KSU Hotel and Conference Center, could begin as soon as this fall.
Michael Bruder, KSU's executive director of facilities planning and management, presented the four final designs to Kent City Council this week, seeking the council members' input on the project.
Although the city of Kent will play no role in picking the winning design, Bruder said the university was seeking general comments and concerns about the project.
Councilwoman Heidi Shaffer asked what plans the university had for parking at the site, which will inherit a program with about 700 students currently spread across multiple buildings on campus.
Bruder said the university and city are studying parking and traffic in the area, noting KSU has no current plans for large-scale parking on the site.
"We've provided immediately on site for service and handicapped and some drop off-spaces," Bruder said. "We're still studying the parking needs for the whole district."
Councilman Roger Sidoti said he wondered if the university could work on the exterior design once a final selection is made, in order to make the transition from campus to downtown Kent smoother. Noting he was not an architect, Sidoti said having a "Star Trek" building in between classic architecture on campus and modern architecture downtown might look odd.
"From my perspective, I'm looking for that transition piece between this beautiful conference center... and Rockwell Hall."
Bruder said the university will work with the winning design firm to make sure the building fits in with the Esplanade and the Kent community as much as possible.
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