By Julie Battaglia
Over the years it is hard to miss the construction Kent State University has undergone. In the past four years Kent State University has gone through many renovations and demolitions to try to obtain the best campus for its students and residents.
First, Kent State University demolished four residence halls referred to as Small Group in the summer of 2008. The next construction project that took place was the beautification and renovation of the library and Risman Plaza the spring and summer of 2010. The next and current project Kent State University has planned is the demolition of the Allerton Apartment complex.
Allerton Apartments are residential dorms for student families. The complex provides families with more land and a child friendly environment. Over the next four years Kent State University is slowly phasing out Allerton Apartments, planning to have all buildings demolished by the summer of 2015.
Built in two phases in 1962 and 1966, Allerton Apartments are almost 50 years old and have seen better days. In 2006, two buildings were demolished due to lack of occupants and expensive physical repairs. The next two buildings, L and M, will be torn down in July 2011. Next, buildings F, J and K will close in 2012. A, B, C, and D will be the last to close in the summer of 2015. Betsy Joseph, Kent State’s director of Residence Services, and Brian Hellwig, coordinator of residential safety and security and apartment manager for Allerton, both believe that Allerton Apartments are just too old to provide adequate and affordable living space for students and families. They both agree that the main concern at this time is to house freshmen and sophomores.
Brian Hellwig states, “ I see this as a bitter-sweet decision. While it is somewhat sad to see the buildings close, I also know that it is time for the buildings to close. I have very much enjoyed working with this population of our students. These students are what I will miss the most.” Brian Hellwig also believes this is the best way to phase out the buildings, cost-effective to the university and minimal effect to residents giving them plenty of time to find other housing options in Kent. Residents will be notified six months before their specific building is planned to close. This will allow a sufficient amount of time to find other housing. Students who decide to stay in Allerton Apartments until closing will be moved to another building and awarded a month free rent for the hassle. Currently Allerton Apartments complex has164 apartment units and is about 86% occupied according to Brian Hellwig.
Reactions from students have been surprisingly upbeat and positive. Students living in Allerton Buildings L and M that plan to stay have been extremely positive because they receive free rent in July as compensation for their inconvenience. With any other construction project residents and students are concerned about roadblocks or closings. Brian Hellwig states, “There will be no effect on campus or to Allerton Street. A couple of the parking lots designated for the closed buildings will be closed, but Allerton Street will not be affected at all. PARTA will continue to have bus service to Allerton until the summer of 2015.” As of now there are no plans for the land after demolition.
Julie Battaglia is a senior applied communication studies major and practicum student in the Dean’s Office of the College of Communication and Information.