Linda Harvey is excited about returning to her hometown in September.
A 1958 graduate of Kent State High School, Harvey is planning the 55th reunion of her graduating class.
Harvey, now a Fort Myers, FL, resident, hasn't been home to Kent in five years — right before real progress on downtown's more than $100 million redevelopment started.
"This is an exciting time for Kent, and we’re all excited about being there and seeing it," Harvey said.
Harvey attended Kent State University School as an elementary student when the teacher training school was located in Franklin Hall on campus. Eventually the school was moved to the Michael Schwartz Center, where Harvey and her class graduated from. By 1982 the grade-school element of Kent State University had been abolished.
The graduating class has been holding reunions every five years for the past few get togethers.
Exactly 100 students graduated with her 55 years ago. They're expecting about 40 for the reunion this fall.
Harvey said none of the remaining class members live in Kent, with a few exceptions for some in areas surrounding the city, so the class reunion planned for September will bring many to a completely remade portion of downtown.
"Everything's just changed," she said. "We're really anxious."
The class will meet informally Friday, Sept. 27, for an informal dinner at Laziza, one of several new restaurants to open as part of the redevelopment downtown. A block of rooms are reserved for the class in the new Kent State University Hotel and Conference Center, where the class members will hold their reunion in the banquet center Saturday night.
During the day Saturday Harvey arranged for a bus tour of downtown and the Kent State campus, both of which have seen tremendous change in the past five years.
"We were actually the first people to make a reservation there," Harvey said of the new hotel. "Basically we’ll be at the hotel on the one corner and then will go right across the street to Laziza. And all of those are areas where some of our classmates lived and walked to school from there."
Harvey said she followed the construction downtown and was able to plan the reunion thanks to being a dedicated Kent Patch reader.
"It’s been my number one source of planning this reunion," she said. "There’s no doubt about that."