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Davey Renovates, Repurposes Historic Kent Building

Posted: Nov. 2, 2016 

Kent, Ohio – The Davey Tree Expert Company has restored and repurposed a building on Kent’s west side with historic roots for North America’s oldest tree care firm.

Davey recently finished restorations to the Davey Bryce Road facility at 905 Bryce Road off West Main Street. The building, which had been used the past 15 years mostly for records storage, is now home to approximately 20 members of the Davey Resource Group’s Natural Resources Consulting team.

In July, Kent City Council declared the building a locally historic property due to the significant role it played in the growth and advancement of Davey Tree. Last week, the Kent Area Chamber of Commerce awarded the restoration an IMMY Award.

The facility originally opened in 1954 as The Davey Technical Service Center. It represented the first time the company housed the office, laboratory and library for the technical staff all under one roof.

“Taking a 1954 structure and converting it for general office space, and making it functional again while still preserving the history, presented a unique challenge,” said Molly Senter, Davey’s property manager who oversaw the restoration. “But it was a fun project getting to see it turn into such a gem.”

After opening in 1954, Davey developed countless scientific advancements inside that had far-reaching effects on the green industry. Those developments included the 1976 introduction of Davey’s patented Arbor Green liquid fertilizer, which revolutionized the way tree care companies fertilize clients’ trees. The Davey Technical Service Center also served as home for 30 years to the Davey Institute of Tree Sciences, founded in 1908 as Davey’s flagship training program.

“The building, we believe, is historic based on what occurred within its walls, not necessarily for its design or location,” said Sandra Reid, vice president, corporate communications and strategic planning administration. “For decades it served as the center for the development of groundbreaking research and for our training programs, both of which have far-reaching legacies within the Davey Company, the city of Kent and the green industry.”

Planning started in January 2015 with Kent-based DS Architecture, and construction commenced in July 2015. Contractors preserved the original glazed block featured throughout along with glass-block windows and the original interior doors. Workers installed new soft ceilings, LED lights, exterior windows, flooring and plumbing through the 5,800 square feet of space.

Prominent Kent architect C.G. Kistler designed the building, which once included an external green house. Kistler designed numerous buildings throughout Portage County, including the Kent Stage building in downtown Kent and the former Portage County Courthouse in downtown Ravenna, which was built in 1959 and stood until the existing courthouse was built.

MEDIA ONLY: Interested in a tour? Contact Jennifer Lennox at jennifer.lennox@davey.com.

The Davey Tree Expert Company’s more than 8,600 employees provide tree care, grounds maintenance and environmental consulting services for the residential, utility, commercial and government markets throughout the U.S. and Canada. Davey has provided Proven Solutions for a Growing World since 1880 and has been employee-owned for 37 years. For more information, visit www.davey.com.

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