McDavis years brought new amenities to campus

The landscape of Ohio University has changed throughout President Roderick McDavis’ administration.

Notable projects include new Baker Center, built in 2007, renovated dining halls and several residence halls.

Prior to 2007, no new residence halls were built for 30 years. During McDavis’ presidency, five residence halls have been built. The Housing Master Plan began in 2006, and Adams Hall was built in 2007, breaking the hiatus of residence hall construction to meet enrollment needs. Adams Hall has 350 beds for residents.

“There was a period in Ohio University’s history where resources were not what they were in 2007,” Shawna Bolin, the university planner, said. “Enrollment increases changed the need. Adams Hall was built to accommodate that.”

The Housing Master Plan calls for the renovation and construction of residence halls on South Green. Cady, Foster and Brough were demolished last summer as part of the Back South Demolition Phase I project for about $1.6 million. The area will be used as additional green space on South Green.

Other demolitions on South Green have been scheduled in summer 2017 under McDavis’ administration as part of the Housing Master Plan. The plan to demolish O’Bleness House and Martzolff House was approved by the Board of Trustees in October. The budget of the project is $2.5 million if Fenzel House is demolished, but if not, the project will cost about $1.8 million. The university will decide in March if Fenzel will be included in the South Green demolitions.

All 15 of the Back South residence halls are scheduled for demolition in the future. They will be replaced once demolished. Four new dorms have been constructed so far: Sowle Hall, Luchs Hall, Tanaka Hall and Carr Hall.

“We always rebase to say what’s our enrollment, what’s our occupancy requirements,” Christine Sheets, the assistant vice president for the division of student affairs, said. “That’s changed the speed at which we completed the demolition. … It’s smart growth. We’re taking off old and replacing them with higher-efficiency residence halls.”

New Baker Center opened in 2007 under McDavis. The five-story building with a theater, Latitude 39, West 82 and student organization offices cost $60 million, two-thirds of which was funded by student fees. The previous student center was housed in what is now Schoonover Center and the Radio-Television Building.

“(Baker Center) is really nice for students to come to get away from our dorms,” Amy Rapien, a sophomore studying child and family studies, said. “It’s very central and accessible. I love how (Front Room) takes our flex points.”

All three dining halls on campus were renovated during McDavis’ time as president. Shively was revamped in 2010 for approximately $8.9 million. Nelson dining hall, market and cafe opened its doors in fall 2012. $12 million was put into renovating the West Green Market District in 2015, including Boyd’s dining hall and market.

Most recently, Jefferson Market opened in January for about $8.8 million, as part of the $40 million budget for Jefferson Hall. Jefferson Market features a juice bar, a sandwich shop, a coffee shop and more.

“I never expected a market to look like that,” Lauren Rutherford, a sophomore studying health service administration, said. “It’s a good option for students to have and it’s healthier too. We need to have that option for students to learn how to eat right.”

In McDavis’ absence, the university will continue to maintain all aspects of campus, from dining areas to residence halls, Jenny Hall-Jones, dean of students, said.

“When students go and visit colleges they look at the residence halls, they look at the campus rec faculties, they look at the student center and the dining halls,” she said. “The things where students spend most of their time are really, really important to them, and we need to upkeep those.”

Originally published for The Post on Feb. 15, 2017.

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