The design of the Kent State Hotel and Conference Center may look all business, but that serious facade will be accented by some "flashy" art work.
Part of the sign package for the as-yet-unidentified hotel brand will include some large banners with graphics advertising Kent State. The latest plans shows members of the Golden Flashes football team stretched across huge banners on the outside of the hotel.
The banners are similar to ones already on the Kent State Library and Student Recreation and Wellness Center on campus.
Jeff Glavan, a partner in the architecture firm designing the hotel, said the graphics signal the connection between Kent State and downtown.
"The whole idea of what we were doing … is an extension of what the university, President (Lester) Lefton, is looking for, is an extension of Kent State downtown," Glavan said.
A change to the city's zoning code in April 2010 requires sign packages go to the Kent Planning Commission, which has already expressed support for the hotel design.
Jennifer Barone, Kent planning engineer, said the sign package also has to go to the city's architectural review board when it is completed.
The more than $15 million hotel is being built by Columbus hotelier The Pizzuti Companies in cooperation with the Kent State Foundation, which is investing more than $3 million in the project.
Don Wheat, vice president for public and private projects for Pizzuti, said approval of the signs does not make or break the project.
"It's a combination of exterior banners that would just be a typical printed banner and potentially some flat panel displays," Wheat said. "Of course we realize that’s subject to approval. The building can be built if the signs are not approved."
Glavan said certain brands have strict requirements for signage on their hotels, but the brand most heavily considered for the Kent State hotel has generous regulations for signage.
"Our understanding is we’re going to be in good shape," he said. “We’re in a very positive situation with the proposed flag right now."
Kent Economic Development Director Dan Smith said the city staff supports the overall design of the hotel and believes it is respectful of the rest of downtown Kent's architecture.