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Demolition and Construction Pave the Way for Growth at Kent State East Liverpool and Kent State Salem

Posted March 7, 2011

Kent State University at East Liverpool and Kent State University at Salem are redeveloping their campuses in conjunction with area leaders. Administrators at Kent State East Liverpool are continuously working with civic leaders to breathe new life into the city's downtown as part of campus's master plan, dubbed the "University District."

regional feature Salem East Liverpool inside
The new downtown plan

"The campus is working with our city's leaders, and the University District will highlight the rebirth of East Liverpool's downtown," says Dean Jeff Nolte. "I'm proud that even in this economy, because of the foresight of many of our community leaders, we are in a position at both Kent State East Liverpool and Kent State Salem to positively affect our students and the communities we serve."

With a lead donor serving as a catalyst, the university has obtained property that will help Kent State East Liverpool grow and accommodate its expanding programs and student population. Last year, the university acquired a facility that will be renovated into a teaching laboratory for the Occupational Therapy Assistant Program. With this new facility, which will be known as Purinton Hall, Kent State East Liverpool will become only the second Occupational Therapy Assistant program in Ohio to have access to a training facility designed to replicate a private residence.

Kent State East Liverpool has also attained property for the use of additional parking lots to accommodate its student growth. In November, the university was able to add to the number of parking lots it has constructed through the acquisition and demolition of a decrepit Victorian-era building, known locally as the Smith Building, which occupied the corner of Broadway and East Fourth streets. Now, new parking lots and a park-like green space have been added for the enjoyment of all.

At Kent State Salem, construction crews continue to renovate the campus's16,000-square- foot gymnasium, which is being converted in to a state-of-the-art medical learning facility. The multimillion dollar project is converting Kent State Salem's under-utilized gymnasium into a learning space. The new facility will accommodate the campus's nursing and radiology programs, faculty offices and a new bookstore. A floor will be added within the former gym to allow an additional 9,000-square-foot of future lab and classroom space.

The new space, complete with an 80-seat auditorium, is scheduled to be operational for the Fall 2011 Semester.

"We are very excited to see the gym's transformation," says Nolte. "The underutilized space was a great area to tap. The new area not only will support the top-notch nursing and radiology programs, but also will provide an area for future biology and chemistry labs."

The work officially began just as students were taking finals last semester. After a security fence was erected, construction trailers installed and needed equipment and supplies delivered; a soundproof partition wall was built to help reduce noise created by the transformation.

Recently, the gym's floor, interior ceiling, concrete floors and walls were removed, and the electric wiring was relocated. The hot water tank, boiler, showers and sinks were also removed.

Now, the construction crew is staring to prepare the gym floor to lay an interior foundation and cement slab. Plumbing will be laid underneath.

"We're right on schedule," says Terry Zocolo, the campus's construction manager. "Because we're tearing down a building, it's hard to foresee problems. Fortunately, we haven't had any major setbacks."

The first phase of the construction is set to be completed in August. The new bookstore and faculty offices, which will be completed during the second construction phase, are scheduled to start in November.

"This is a major renovation for the campus," Zocolo says. "When completed, more than 25,000-square- feet will be added to the Kent State Salem main building. This is the equivalent of adding a third of our current space."

Pictures of the construction are posted on the Kent State East Liverpool and Kent State Salem Facebook page.

By Ruth McCullaugh