By Julianne Zala
The fall semester opened with the reveal of a newly renovated food court in the Hamilton Williams Campus Center, ongoing renovations on the roof of Edwards Gym and the news of Merrick Hall awaiting restorations.
An outside design firm worked with university officials to plan the renovations to the still un-named HWCC food court. University President Rock Jones said the project’s objective was to “create spaces that become destinations for students at all hours of the day.”
“The serving area is much larger and provides an opportunity to present a larger and more pleasing selection of food choices for students and other guests,” he said.
Freshman Emily Eichenauer said she “likes the checkouts on the side because it gives you more room to get your food, and it’s not as congested.”
Edwards Gym is currently being renovated to repair roof damage. According to Dan Hitchell, Vice President for Administration and Finance, once the roof is renovated, the original 1904 roof will last another 60 to 70 years.
Additionally, it was announced this summer that an $8 million-dollar donation by an anonymous couple made it possible to renovate Merrick Hall.
Erected in 1873, Merrick is registered as one of eleven locations on campus on the National Register of Historic Places.
The building, originally devoted to the study of science, will serve as an additional resource for students and faculty once it reopens.
According to Hitchell, who serves on the Merrick Hall project committee, the restoration “(will) bring a beautiful building back to life.”
Craig Ullom, vice-president for Student Affairs, said each floor of Merrick will have a specific purpose.
“The first floor would be a resource center for connections, theory to practice opportunities, and other avenues for student engagement and learning,” he said. “The concept for the second floor would be focused on innovative learning spaces and the third floor would be event space.”
The renovations to Merrick Hall are estimated to be completed by 2015.
According to Jones, OWU’s campus is a “laboratory for living and learning.”
“We are blessed by numerous historic buildings that remind us of the longstanding commitment to excellence in undergraduate liberal arts education at OWU,” he said. “Bringing these buildings back to life and restoring their beauty and grandeur in ways that serve students in the 21st century allows us to claim our rich history while building the future in ways that best serve our students now and in the years ahead. It is important to provide the best possible space for faculty and students to do their work. These renovations contribute to that important goal.”