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Cleveland State University unveils $650 million master plan featuring new arena, expanded student housing

The 10-year, $650 million master plan is highlighted by the addition of a 5,000 to 7,000-seat multi-purpose arena that would replace the aging Wolstein Center.

CLEVELAND — Cleveland State University has unveiled an ambitious master plan for the future of the downtown campus that includes a new arena, expanded student housing, and the addition of various districts. 

The 10-year, $650 million master plan is highlighted by the addition of a 5,000 to 7,000-seat multi-purpose arena that would replace the aging Wolstein Center as the new home of CSU basketball, plus host concerts and other events.

Planners envision Cleveland State being divided into three districts: "Academic Core," "Student Residential Experience," and "Partnership District." 

"Our location in downtown Cleveland is one of our greatest assets,” said CSU President Laura Bloomberg in a statement. “As an urban public research university, we have a special obligation to serve the public good. For CSU that means providing an accessible, quality education for all on our campus, while serving as a catalyst for growth for our city and the region. Our master plan provides the infrastructure to support that mission.”

University officials add that there are no firm timelines for implementing the proposal. The next steps in finalizing the master plan will include development of detailed budgets, designs, timelines and funding.

Credit: Sasaki/Cleveland State University

Academic Core

Planners envision CSU's Academic Core, an area bounded by Carnegie and Euclid Avenues between E. 22nd and E. 18th, to feature a renovated Rhodes Tower, new student housing, a new academic building, and a new campus quadrangle.

The iconic Rhodes Tower, which currently serves as a classroom and office building that also houses CSU's library, will be reimagined. There will be 13 floors of new housing for close to 500 students, while adding student life and social space around the library on the first four floors of the building.

Credit: Cleveland State University/Facebook

Additional plans call for two new academic buildings to the west of Rhodes Tower which will house active learning classrooms, laboratories and collaborative spaces. One of the buildings will include campus housing.

A campus quad will be created between a new academic building and the Music and Communication Building to the south. CSU says the new quad will connect to the existing student center plaza – dramatically expanding greenspace in the campus core.

Credit: Sasaki, Cleveland State University

East of Berkman Hall, there will be a Corporate Connector building that CSU believes will provide a "front door" to the university for corporate and other partners linking them to research, faculty experts, and a talented workforce made up of CSU graduates, and students.

Additionally, the plan for the Academic Core includes improved pedestrian access and intersection improvements at Chester and 21st, Chester and 22nd, Euclid and 21st, and Euclid and 22nd.

Student Residential Experience

This area will be concentrated to the area north of Chester Avenue between E. 18th Street and I-90.

The district would be highlighted by the new arena. 

Credit: Sasaki/Cleveland State University

Planners envision that the new arena would connect to Krenzler Field and the university's softball facility to the west, while linking up with the Student Rec. Center to the east. There will be additional recreation and athletic facilities in the district, including a new indoor field house and covered tennis courts.

“We’re excited about the opportunity to better link our students and the community to CSU athletics while creating vibrant entertainment opportunities in this part of downtown,” Bloomberg added. “We want enhance the experience for our students, student athletes and fans, and draw more visitors to campus.”

Credit: Sasaki/Cleveland State University

Along with the emphasis on athletics, the district would also feature three new residence halls that would provide housing for nearly 1,400 students.

Partnership District

With a new arena as part of the master plan, where does that leave the Wolstein Center? 

Credit: Sasaki/Cleveland State University

The venerable arena, which opened in 1991, would be demolished under the master plan. Its 800,000 square feet of space would be turned into "mixed-use development designed to drive economic development in the area and connect partners to the university."

“This district provides an opportunity for us to work with the city, county, and our education, corporate and health care partners to develop 10 acres of prime, downtown real estate next to a major RTA hub and a parking garage,” said CSU senior vice president of business affairs and chief financial officer David Jewell. “The possible collaborations and benefits to the university and the community are only limited by our imagination.”

Credit: Sasaki/Cleveland State University

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