It started with a sweeping aerial animation showing 100 years of building on the Kent State University campus.
Now a special video crafted for the university architect's office has expanded beyond the borders of campus to include a portion of downtown Kent.
About one month ago the university architect's office published a video documenting construction of the main buildings on campus from 1910 — Kent State's founding year — to today. The video sweeps around campus overhead as buildings pop up on the 100-year timeline.
The latest version of the video traces the yet to-be-built Esplanade extension into downtown, and viewers get to watch as the major downtown redevelopment projects rise, including Acorn Alley and Acorn Corner, the Kent State Hotel, the AMETEK building and the Davey Resource Group building, the Kent Central Gateway transit center and a new residential building.
Michael Bruder, director of design and construction for the university architect's office, said this latest video was developed with input from both city and university officials.
"The initial video was designed to the tell the story of the first 100 years of Kent State," Bruder said. "The idea behind the second video was to showcase the collaboration that is happening at the start of the second 100 years of Kent State and our ongoing relationship with the city of Kent. This partnership is really exemplified by the Esplanade extension along the vacated Erie Street, a symbolic and literal connection from the city to campus."
Bruder added that they also sought to tell the story of the downtown redevelopment while giving residents an idea of what the finished projects will look like.
Kent Economic Development Director Dan Smith said he views the video as showing Kent coming full circle with the start of the university on Main Street and now reconnecting Kent State to dowtown.
"This is part of our overall master plans that has now generated over $106 million in new investment as well as over 800 construction jobs and over 700 permanent, new jobs downtown," Smith said. "The plan is having the type of impact we intended. For the first quarter of 2012, our income tax collections are up approximately $300,000. If this trend continues, and it looks like it will, we are indeed substantially growing our tax base (and jobs) in support of city financing and operations."
Kent City Manager Dave Ruller described the video as "a peak at our future." Read more from Ruller's perspective here.