Updated Mon, Apr 7, 2014 9:59 am
Thursday morning, Ohio University president Roderick McDavis shared his vision for the campus’s transformation at the Emeriti Day reception in the Schoonover Center.
Joining him to present “Transforming OHIO: Next 5 to 10 years” were director of university planning and space management Shawna Bolin, associate vice president of architecture, design and construction Harry Wyatt, and senior associate vice president for information technology and administrative services Joseph Lally.
They explained that $966.9 million will be infused into the campus over the next six years through the Capital Improvement Plan. Academic and research projects will receive $407.6 million, $200 million to infrastructure renewal, $190.7 million to residential housing, $115.1 million to academic support, $29 million to auxiliary and $24.5 million to regional campuses.
“Over a billion dollars of construction that will occur and I know that brings joy to the mayor’s heart because that’s money coming into our community,” McDavis explained.
He added that Ohio Governor John Kasich’s newly signed capital bill that will bring upwards of $26 million for OHIO projects.
While the Ohio officials expressed a dedication to state-of-the-art technology, they want to maintain the campus’ historical look.
“Anyone in the audience want to tell me what building material you think of when you come to Ohio University?” Wyatt asked. Laughter and outbursts of “bricks” rose from the attendees.
Wyatt said they will add hints of the contemporary to the traditional look of bricks, stone, white trim, and green space.
“We want to maintain the current appeal of the campus,” McDavis said. “We want to try to make use of the buildings that are already here, but as Harry pointed out we want to refurbish.”
Plans to renovate every residence hall and the Ridges in the next decade are in the works. While there will be some new construction such as new dorms and the Walter Fieldhouse, many of the changes will not be visible from the outside.
One of the changes is the Voice over IP (VoIP) Project, which will replace traditional telephones with portable network devices. The system will use voice as a form of data to route telephone calls.
Bolin explained that in planning the future they’re focused on stewardship, community, efficient growth, partnerships and economics.
“Everything that we do has academic planning at the pinnacle of what we’re doing and thinking about the programs and expansions that are happening on campus,” Bolin said.
During the question-and-answer segment, some in attendance expressed concerns about the plans, citing potential debt, parking and alternative energy use.