If Kentucky State University’s plans go accordingly, the campus will soon add a new landmark to its lore in the form of a bell tower.
The university’s Board of Regents last week gave KSU the green light to begin searching for a construction company to build the bell tower, which is slated to go in front of Paul G. Blazer Library.
While President M. Christopher Brown II called the campus beautiful, he said the bell tower is one component the university sees as a solution to a current problem.
“What is not clear on this campus are defined gathering spaces for students, nor is there a defined academic quad,” Brown said.
Answers to this problem are being developed as part of a master plan for the university through the Finance and Administration Cabinet, and the bell tower aims to provide one of these sought-after gathering spaces.
While the site work will be covered by leftover grant money, Brown said, the construction of the tower itself will likely cost between $100,000 and $300,000.
For that portion, the school is preparing to launch a private funding campaign, which Brown said he plans to officially announce during Founder’s Day on Oct. 12.
While the exact specifications of the tower will come later, Brown said it would resemble an obelisk — a long, four-sided tower capped with a pyramid-like top — and would have a three-prong approach to represent the university’s mantra of “onward, upward and forward.”
Brown said the tower would help alleviate the university’s lack of gathering spaces while catching it up to other schools throughout Kentucky.
“Almost every university in the commonwealth has a bell tower except for Kentucky State,” he said.
Now that regents have approved the university’s advertising a request for proposals from bell tower companies, Brown said he anticipates receiving bids from the handful of reputable bell tower companies throughout the United States, of which they would accept the lowest and best bid. After that, officials will return before the board of regents to get approval on actual plans for construction of the tower.
The name of the tower is still up in the air.
Plans to build the tower are not the only upgrades the university is exploring, Brown said. Other projects in the works include a privately funded public art project at the front gate of campus, which Brown said has garnered support from Louisville groups, as well as a more long-term goal of making housing improvements.