After nearly two years of preparation and a transformative gift from Kokosing Inc., Bowling Green State University held the dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony of the newly renovated Kokosing Hall, home of the School of the Built Environment on Monday.
Students, faculty, staff and alumni gathered to celebrate the state-of-the-art facility that puts the construction management and architecture and environmental design programs under one roof — a first-of-its-kind school structure in Ohio.
Headquartered in Westerville, Ohio, Kokosing is one of the largest family-owned construction companies in the Midwest and mid-Atlantic. The company’s gift supports the new learning environment that converges construction management with architecture programming and provides design-build space that promotes greater insight into industry trends, academic programming and engagement leading to co-op internship opportunities — all in a premier facility that’s a testament to the power of private philanthropy and the dramatic impact it has on a public university.
“We are incredibly grateful for Kokosing’s transformational gift and longtime support of Bowling Green State University,” said BGSU President Rodney Rogers. “Kokosing Hall is certainly a fitting recognition of Kokosing’s generosity and belief in our students, alumni, faculty and staff. As a public university for the public good, Kokosing Hall also represents our commitment to partnering with industry leaders to create and enhance in-demand academic programs to meet Ohio’s workforce needs.”
Kokosing has long supported experiential learning opportunities for BGSU students, hosting students in co-op roles for more than 25 years. In addition, Kokosing currently employs nearly three dozen BGSU alumni, including President/co-CEO Wm. Brett Burgett ’01.
“Today is a great day – we are excited and extremely proud to have the Kokosing name represented on the new School of the Built Environment building,” Burgett said. “When the opportunity arose for us to support BGSU in constructing a new building that would give students innovative lab space for hands-on learning and upgraded classrooms, we quickly became excited to pay it forward and support students looking to join the construction industry.
“The construction management program at BGSU has and will continue to have a positive impact on Kokosing. We have over 30 BGSU alumni making significant contributions to the success of our company. We are humbled to support the many talented Falcon students and the future of this great university.”
About the facility
The initial groundbreaking for the $10.4 million facility took place in June 2021 and involves both new spaces and cutting-edge equipment that provides students the hands-on education they need for success in the design-build industries. The BGSU Board of Trustees approved naming the facility Kokosing Hall in March 2022. Architectural work was conducted by SHP, engineering was provided by KLH Engineers, Lathrop served as the general contractor, construction trades were united by Construction Trades of Northwest Ohio and Michael Schuessler served as senior project manager in planning design and construction at BGSU.
“We teach our students the importance of collaboration. Kokosing Hall would not have been completed without so many people working so well together,” said Jennie Gallimore, dean of the College of Technology, Architecture and Applied Engineering. “Throughout the process, we met and listened to our industry partners who told us they’re looking for graduates who understand the process from design to build. BGSU is now the only university in Ohio where construction management students and architecture and environmental design students are under the same roof, learning with and from each other.
“By sharing the same physical workspace, students receive a more complete understanding of the process and the skills they need to succeed. In Kokosing Hall’s new classrooms, collaborative spaces and cutting-edge labs, our faculty will have space to innovate with our students. Our students will be exposed to technologies and experiences they will encounter in the real world. This fantastic new facility will help us meet the ever-evolving workforce needs and prepare graduates more effectively for jobs in the future. Our industry partners will benefit from a highly trained and sophisticated workforce that will be ready to hit the ground running upon graduation.”
The new Kokosing Hall addition encompasses 22,900 square feet and boasts new equipment including a materials lab complete with a bench oven, concrete compression testing machine. The facility’s new digital labs include all-new workstations with dual monitors, advanced audio-visual equipment, new work desks and seating, designed and installed as per industry standards. The new 6,700-square-foot Innovation Lab and Classroom is prepped to house a 10-ton crane hoist. In addition to industry-standard seating and desks in the lab, the space is designed for constructing everything from a tiny modular home to a 2-story tall structure, including planned CNC routers and laser cutting machines for digital fabrication and material-related exploration and innovation.
Kokosing Hall and the philanthropic gift from Kokosing will expose students to situations, technologies and experiences that they will encounter in real-world roles through coursework, and also allow for increased engagement with alumni and corporate partners.
About the School of the Built Environment
Kokosing Hall houses both the construction management and architecture and environmental design programs, a significant step for the School of the Built Environment, which has been directed by Arsenio Rodrigues since 2018.
As a result of continuous engagement with Ohio’s workforce needs, BGSU established the School of the Built Environment for students to engage in design-build learning and innovation.
After completing immersive and interdisciplinary coursework that infuses design, technical and management education, as well as participating in up to three paid co-ops experiences, graduates typically begin careers in architecture, interior design, entrepreneurship and construction management, among others.
“Students from each program take several classes together, exposing them to both fields and creating a deeper and more meaningful understanding of the synergies between architecture and construction management, which aligns with the future trajectory of the ‘design-build’ profession and industry,” Gallimore said. “BGSU students have long benefitted from Kokosing’s support of our programs through co-op learning experiences. With this gift, all our students will be exposed to an even greater opportunity to learn in-demand skills and graduate career ready.”
The BGSU construction management program is one of only five in Ohio and 72 nationwide that is accredited by the American Council for Construction Education, with a job placement rate of 100% after graduation. The BGSU Department of Architecture, which includes the opportunity for students to pursue a Master of Architecture, is one of only five National Architecture Accreditation Board-accredited programs in Ohio.