The Design Innovation Hub (DI Hub) staff are working on changing guidelines to comply with Covid-19 regulations to keep students, staff and faculty safe while in the DI Hub. 

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The DI Hub is a renovation of the old Art Building on the Kent State University campus and will provide students, staff and faculty with various tools such as a laser cutter, 3D printer, CNC router, wide format printers and more.

J.R. Campbell, the executive director of the Design Innovation Initiative, explained that the DI Hub is on track to be completely ready and open for this fall semester. The DI Hub staff are currently finishing equipment orders that will be used in the different labs. 

“We are working on some strategies for thinking about how to allow individuals or small groups to be able to get into certain spaces to work with the equipment that they might need to work on a project,” Campbell said.

Social distance rules are being put in place for the fall. The auditorium that is able to hold 200 seats, is now restricted to a 26 student capacity. Along with restricted numbers of students for the studio environments in the DI Hub. 

Hybrid scenarios are being thought up, where students can sign up and send files over, then the DI Hub staff will help run the jobs such as a 3D printer or laser cutter. 

“We hope to be able to do that with some live interaction…,” said Campbell, “When the student employee is getting ready to put the clients work on the machine, they would connect with them and have a video chat feed so that they can see what is going on. We are still kind of working through what that process would be but that's our hope.”

The Spark Innovation Studio managed through the University Library under Hilary Kennedy will be a part of the DI Hub in the fall, and renamed to the Spark Lab.

The DI Hub will start off with being directly for student, staff and faculty use and when safe to do so open to the community through different workshops and training. 

“What we will be doing as soon as we can is trying to host organized workshops and sessions for elementary or high school students or community members…,” Campbell said, “Since we can't really host big groups in the building anyways we won’t start with that right away, so the focus is really more on direct student use.”

Applications for DI Hub student jobs are out on Handshake, and will be open through the end of August. 

“That application will be open through the end of August, we will start working on the hiring process of the students throughout mid-July into early August to determine who else will be on board.” said Andrea Oleniczak, Design Innovation Hub Manager and Ecosystem Manager.

If any students are not going to be actively on campus in the fall, virtual and hybrid opportunities will be on the Design Innovation website and Instagram page when available. 

Gina Schlegel covers downtown and construction. Contact her a gschleg1@kent.edu

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