Kent State Seeks Donor to Build Clock Tower on Student Green
University officials believe having most of new green finished will aid in the search for a namesake donor
But there could be even more pomp and circumstance over the expanded greenspace in the university's future.
While some of the new green is unfinished — stone work for the wall and sign facing Summit Street won't be done for a few more weeks — the largest element missing from Wednesday's ribbon cutting is the clock tower originally proposed as part of the $2.8 million project.
University officials pulled the clock tower from the construction plans in the spring due to cost.
Kent State University President Lester Lefton said the plan is to find a namesake donor to help pay to build the clock tower at a future date. They don't have a donor yet.
"We're talking to a couple of people," Lefton said.
He's hopeful having the green finished will make it easier for the university to find a donor to help build the clock tower.
"We're always looking for donors, and part of the challenge is to find something that captures someone's imagination," Lefton said. "Now that we have the Student Green done you don't have to visualize what a clock tower would be. You can actually see the space where it would go. So we'll continue to seek a donor, and I'm sure we'll find one."
The new greenspace extends Risman Plaza south towards Summit Street via a sprawling lawn with the university seal set in concrete in the middle of the green. The open space leads to a raised performance stage, which would serve as the base for the clock tower. The project rerouted Risman Drive and consumed the eastern portion of the Kent State Student Center visitor's parking lot.
Tom Euclide, Kent State’s associate vice president for Facilities Planning and Operations, said it will take one or two weeks before the new green is completely finished.
They were happy to have it open in time for homecoming festivities at the university this weekend, he said.
Members of the 2012 Kent State Homecoming Court helped cut the ribbon on the new green.
Evan Gildenblatt, executive director of Kent State's Undergraduate Student Government and a member of homecoming court, said the green is more than just a new centerpiece for the campus.
"It's a sign that the future is filled with new and exciting things for Kent State University," he said. "It symbolizes the same thing that's being symbolized by the Esplanade expansion and the construction in the city of Kent. We're a generation that's meant to do big things."
Lefton said the green will serve as both a place for formal and casual events for students along with simple socializing, studying or hanging out with friends.
"At the same time I think it's really a place where we've created a new front door to our campus," he said. "As every new student comes to campus, as every potential student and their family leaves the admissions office, they're going to walk through this place. They're going to walk over this seal. They're going to see this vista, and it says something about who we are."