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IMAGE: <p>(left to right) Kent State President Lester A. Lefton; Kent State Vice President for Institutional Advancement Eugene Finn; Chairman and CEO of the Pizzuti Companies and Kent State alumnus Ron Pizzuti; Kent State Foundation Board Investments Chairman and Kent State alumnus Gary Brahler; and Kent State Vice President for Finance and Administration Gregg Floyd stand at the site of the future Kent State Hotel and Conference Center in downtown Kent.<br /> </p>

(left to right) Kent State President Lester A. Lefton; Kent State Vice President for Institutional Advancement Eugene Finn; Chairman and CEO of the Pizzuti Companies and Kent State alumnus Ron Pizzuti; Kent State Foundation Board Investments Chairman and Kent State alumnus Gary Brahler; and Kent State Vice President for Finance and Administration Gregg Floyd stand at the site of the future Kent State Hotel and Conference Center in downtown Kent.

IMAGE: <p>Kent State University President Lester A. Lefton (center), Kent State Vice President for Institutional Advancement Eugene Finn (left) and Randy Ruttenberg (right), principal of Fairmount Properties, congratulate one another at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Kent State University Hotel and Conference Center.</p>

Kent State University President Lester A. Lefton (center), Kent State Vice President for Institutional Advancement Eugene Finn (left) and Randy Ruttenberg (right), principal of Fairmount Properties, congratulate one another at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Kent State University Hotel and Conference Center.

IMAGE: <p>President Lefton, Chairman and CEO of the Pizzuti Companies and Kent State alumnus Ron Pizzuti and local elected officials and dignitaries break ground for the new hotel and conference center located in downtown Kent.</p>

President Lefton, Chairman and CEO of the Pizzuti Companies and Kent State alumnus Ron Pizzuti and local elected officials and dignitaries break ground for the new hotel and conference center located in downtown Kent.

IMAGE: <p>Chairman and CEO of the Pizzuti Companies and Kent State alumnus Ron Pizzuti speaks during the Kent State University Hotel and Conference Center groundbreaking ceremony.<br /> </p>

Chairman and CEO of the Pizzuti Companies and Kent State alumnus Ron Pizzuti speaks during the Kent State University Hotel and Conference Center groundbreaking ceremony.

IMAGE: <p>President Lefton addresses those attending the Kent State University Hotel and Conference Center groundbreaking ceremony.<br /> </p>

President Lefton addresses those attending the Kent State University Hotel and Conference Center groundbreaking ceremony.

  • IMAGE: <p>(left to right) Kent State President Lester A. Lefton; Kent State Vice President for Institutional Advancement Eugene Finn; Chairman and CEO of the Pizzuti Companies and Kent State alumnus Ron Pizzuti; Kent State Foundation Board Investments Chairman and Kent State alumnus Gary Brahler; and Kent State Vice President for Finance and Administration Gregg Floyd stand at the site of the future Kent State Hotel and Conference Center in downtown Kent.<br /> </p>
  • IMAGE: <p>Kent State University President Lester A. Lefton (center), Kent State Vice President for Institutional Advancement Eugene Finn (left) and Randy Ruttenberg (right), principal of Fairmount Properties, congratulate one another at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Kent State University Hotel and Conference Center.</p>
  • IMAGE: <p>President Lefton, Chairman and CEO of the Pizzuti Companies and Kent State alumnus Ron Pizzuti and local elected officials and dignitaries break ground for the new hotel and conference center located in downtown Kent.</p>
  • IMAGE: <p>Chairman and CEO of the Pizzuti Companies and Kent State alumnus Ron Pizzuti speaks during the Kent State University Hotel and Conference Center groundbreaking ceremony.<br /> </p>
  • IMAGE: <p>President Lefton addresses those attending the Kent State University Hotel and Conference Center groundbreaking ceremony.<br /> </p>

Ground Broken for New Hotel and Conference Center

Emily Vincent, University Communications and Marketing
Another big milestone in the $100-million redevelopment of downtown Kent, Ohio, was achieved with the groundbreaking of the Kent State University Hotel and Conference Center on Sept. 19. The project is a partnership between the Kent State University Foundation and the Pizzuti Companies of Columbus, Ohio. Kent State University President Lester A. Lefton joined members of the Kent State University Foundation Board of Directors, developer and Kent State alumnus Ron Pizzutti of the Pizzuti Companies and Kent Mayor Jerry Fiala to celebrate the special occasion with members of the Kent community, elected officials and university representatives.

“I can’t believe it -- we’re here,” Lefton said. “Today is a very special and remarkable day.”

Lefton said he heard that this conversation of having a hotel in Kent has been in the works for 40 years. He highlighted the public-private partnership that is now making it a reality and emphasized the downtown redevelopment has been a team effort involving many organizations and individuals who are committed to it.

Pizzuti, who grew up in Kent and received his bachelor’s from Kent State, reviewed some of the features of the new hotel and conference center. It will have 95 rooms, 5,400 square feet for meeting space, an indoor pool and an exercise room. The cost of the hotel and conference center, he said, is estimated in excess of $15 million. Though the hotel and conference center’s opening is listed as Spring 2013 on a sign on the site, Pizzuti said he hopes to speed the opening date up.

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