Learning Facilities: Franklin Hall

Where you learn impacts how well you learn.

The School of Media and Journalism is housed in Franklin Hall, a modern, multimedia facility that sets the standard for other journalism schools. Our facility features a HD digital TV studio; a media newsroom where print, broadcast and multimedia intersect; an Internet radio station and classrooms and meeting spaces designed for collaboration and hands-on learning experiences.

Franklin Hall is part of Kent State University’s iconic front campus and is located at 550 Hilltop Drive. The 1926 building underwent an extensive two-year renovation and expansion and reopened in 2007. We’re not done, however. Franklin Hall was built for future flexibility, and it’s still evolving.

RESERVE equipment OR SPACE in Franklin Hall. 


Black Squirrel Radio is Kent State’s student-run Internet radio station, with nearly 150 students on staff. It provides students with an opportunity to hone their on-air and management skills. The station usually offers more than 60 different specialty music programs, with student DJs in the booth until 2 a.m. every day. Our programming includes newscasts and live broadcasts of Kent State football and basketball games.


Overlooking the Franklin Hall lobby, the Carl E. Hirsch lab is the result of a gift from alumnus Dr. Hirsch, a successful owner and operator of radio and telecommunications firms. The Plain Dealer room is named after a gift from our region’s major newspaper. Both of these classrooms and others in Franklin Hall provide an environment for small, intimate class sizes and support one-on-one interaction with faculty.


Students learn and practice their craft in a $2.5-million television studio and control room. This state-of-the-art digital facility fully replicates what our students will find in professional TV studios and provides them with real-world opportunities to grow and develop in this multimedia age. The facility is home to our student media station, TV2, and provides versatility for classes and for extensive student use. The studio features green-screen technology for multi-set environments, which allows students to participate in different television program productions in addition to news. Learn more about the studio and control room

TV2 Kent State Control Room - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA

Dr. Fred Endres Collaborative Lab – Virtual Reality

New in 2018, the Dr. Fred Endres Collaborative Classroom in Franklin Hall is home to a virtual reality lab. The lab features equipment for 360, 3-D and motion capture video filming and editing. The lab space and equipment are currently used for post-production work on Kent State University Independent Films’ feature “Fly By Night,” by students in several digital sciences and digital media production classes and the Advanced Video Producing class. While open to students, work will continue on the lab throughout the Spring 2018 semester. It is expected to be completed by the end of term.  


Located on the third-floor, the FirstEnergy Interactive Auditorium is home to many of the school’s introductory classes. The 150-seat auditorium enhances student learning and interaction through technology, with features like multiple projection screens. The auditorium also serves as a resource for professional development workshops, guest speakers and conferences for area communications pros. The auditorium was made possible through a generous gift from the FirstEnergy Foundation.


Our student professional organizations, including the School of Media and Journalism chapters of the Public Relations Student Society of American and the American Advertising Federation, benefit from a dedicated studio space where they can work without interruption or distraction on plans, projects and campaigns.


Named for a gift from the Gannett Foundation, the Gannett Collaborative Classroom is specially designed for collaboration. The 3,400-square-foot classroom contains moveable furniture for flexibility and enables students to work in teams. 


IdeaBase, a student-powered design agency, relocated to Franklin Hall in Fall 2019. The team represents a variety of backgrounds and disciplines, united in a passion for creating meaningful solutions for real-world clients. IdeaBase works with clients as classroom experiences as well as professional experiences. Its classroom experiences allow Kent State students from communications-related fields to build their portfolios and skills as part of collaborative, for-credit studio courses at IdeaBase. The professional experiences allow paid Kent State students to work outside of the classroom with real clients from the community.  These transformative project experiences adhere to a practical budget and timeline, but with quality and process representative of a large design agency.  

Please see a virtual tour of the newly remodeled space in Franklin Hall including the eye-tracking lab. 


Students in the advertising, public relations and electronic media classes are fortunate to have access to the focus group room to gain insights on audience attitudes and perceptions. The room’s observation area sports a one-way window and theater-style seating and is equipped with built-in cameras and microphones, flat-screen LCD TVs, projectors, wireless touch panels for controlling cameras, a DVD burner and a digital mixer. Professionals also use the space to conduct research. The room is named after Marcus Thomas, Cleveland’s renowned integrated marketing communications agency.


A striking stainless steel, three-dimensional sculpture is an iconic part of the Franklin Hall landscape. StarSphere 2010 — a starburst contained within an intersecting circle — was expressly designed for the School of Media and Journalism by Susan Ewing, Associate Dean of the Center for Performing Arts at Miami University of Ohio, to symbolize the School’s mission. The star symbolizes the themes of global communication, friendship and freedom — especially those freedoms implicit in the First Amendment of our Constitution, which edges the circumference of the circular disc in raised letters.

StarSphere 2010 is open and accessible to all who visit our School and is easily visible from East Main Street, Hilltop Dr. and the new Gateway Esplanade.


The converged student media newsroom is more than 2,400 square feet, has about 50 workstations, a multimedia center and a wing for podcasts. Working under one roof, the Kent Stater, TV2, and Black Squirrel Radio collaborate to produce KentWired.com.

Student resource lab (SRL)

At the beginning of the fall 2014 semester, we launched the Student Resource Lab (SRL), which enhanced the student learning experience. The facility consists of two resource and equipment training suites where students can checkout one of the 1,500 pieces of equipment and receive extensive hands-on training. The SRL is impacting the learning experience of nearly every student in every major across the School by providing them with training and equipping them with invaluable technical skills.

Wallace J. Hagedorn Gallery

Just outside of FirstEnergy Auditorium in Franklin Hall, the Wallace J. Hagedorn Gallery features student work in photojournalism. It is named for Wallace J. Hagedorn, who established Kent State’s largest scholarship fund in 2014. The $4.2 million legacy gift supports photojournalism students’ tuition and portfolio-building experiences.


As Kent State’s enrollment increases, the campus is undergoing an unprecedented period of change, as new and revitalized learning, laboratory, studio, performance, living and study spaces are changing the university’s physical landscape.

Franklin Hall is at the center of this change: the Kent State Esplanade, the scenic walkway through campus, is being extended to create an easy walking and bike trail directly from Franklin Hall to downtown Kent.

Changes on campus are mirrored in incredible changes in the city of Kent. Always cool and eclectic, today’s Kent offers a vibrant downtown filled with great dining spots, unique and locally owned retail stores and a vibrant social, entertainment and art district. Kent combines the best of college life with the best of community life.


Kent State’s location in Northeast Ohio places our students in close proximity to three media markets: Cleveland, Akron and Pittsburgh. Our prime location leads to greater opportunities for student internships and job placements at broadcast and news outlets, PR, ad, and marketing agencies and digital media companies, as well as government, sports, entertainment and cultural organizations. Get directions and learn more about area attractions and lodging by visiting the university’s wayfinding site.