Kent State digs into new digs at Twinsburg campusPosted Nov. 29, 2010
Kent State digs into new digs at Twinsburg campus
by Emily Canning-Dean
Twinsburg -- The Kent State Geauga Twinsburg campus has always been a source of pride for the city, Mayor Katherine Procop said at the university's groundbreaking ceremony Nov. 18, and spoke of a conversation a few years ago with a resident who drove that point home.
"The man was a father of three girls ... he told me that if it wasn't for the facility in Twinsburg, his daughters couldn't afford to go to college," Procop told a crowd of more than 100 at the construction site off Route 91, just north of Interstate I-480. "I knew then that we were on the right track."
The $24 million, two-story, 44,000-square-foot campus is expected to be complete by the fall 2012 semester. The campus is being constructed on 15 acres.
The Twinsburg campus is currently housed in an 89-year-old, 29,000-square-foot building at routes 91 and 82.
"To better serve our existing students and to offer additional programs, we need a new building with state-of-the-art classrooms, technology, science and medical laboratories," said Kent State President Lester A. Lefton. "The new Regional Academic Center allows us to serve the people we serve better with room to grow."
And the student body has already grown.
David Mohan, dean of the Kent State University Geauga Campus, said the Twinsburg campus had 200 students enrolled in 2004. Today that number is 900. The new campus will be able to serve up to 1,500.
Once the campus is complete, the range of academic programs offered in Twinsburg will expand, as KSU offers executive-level education and training and at least six master's degree programs.
The new academic center is regionally situated with more than one million citizens within a 30-minute drive. The northern Summit County location attracts a diverse student population, and about 20 percent of its students come from Cuyahoga County, with that number growing each year.
It is also located near new facilities, including a growing number of medically related businesses, making the Regional Academic Center an ideal location to offer nursing, public health and executive training programs and serving a high-volume area for health professionals, in particular. Medical facilities in operation or under construction in the area include the Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals Health System, Summa Health System, Edgepark Medical Supplies and Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Ohio.
In addition, Mohan adds that the Twinsburg facility offers free parking, an affordable education and accessibility. The new location is conveniently located near I-480 and Route 91. It will have 325 parking spots, roughly tripling the parking capacity of its current location.
The facility will be built through a 30-year lease agreement from the Summit County Port Authority, a non-profit group that broker's loans between public and private entities. Kent State's private partner in this project is Fairmount Properties of Cleveland, the developer of the building.
After 30 years, the facility will become university property.
Mohan said the Geauga campus began offering higher education classes at the Chrysler Stamping Plant to members of the United Auto Workers in 1990.
In 1996, classes were open to the public and moved to the campus' current location and offered classes with a primary focus on freshman and sophomore levels of instruction. In 2006 coursework toward both associate and baccalaureate degrees was added as well a nursing program at the request of Marymount Hospital.
Twinsburg's Director of Planning and Community Development Larry Finch said the city owns the 1921 building the university is vacating. Once Kent State moves out of the building, Finch said, the city could redevelop the site or use the building as a "business incubator," where the space could be used for startup businesses seeking a cheaper rent.
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