By Jack Jeffery
A $2.1 million project that will provide a major transformation to the face of Ohio University-Chillicothe broke ground Wednesday with a celebration held indoors because of rain. Dean Richard Bebee described the project, which includes a parkway, plaza and other renovations to support the campus' learning environment, as a signature event in the life of the Chillicothe Campus.
Ohio University President Roderick J. McDavis spoke at the project kickoff.
"OU-C is a dynamic learning community, and this project captures that vibrancy," McDavis told the crowd of approximately 70 individuals from the campus and community. "This region is rightfully proud of its position in the state, and the Parkway Project will reflect that pride."
Construction is scheduled to begin in June and will take approximately five months to complete. The project is supported by $1.2 million in state capital allocation funds with the remaining money provided through fundraising.
An amphitheater behind Stevenson Center with seating for 50 to 100 people will provide additional space for students and faculty to interact. The renovations also will create 34 additional parking spaces.
Student representative Bridgette Beatty believes the transformation will increase the sense of pride for current and future students.
"With this project, the exterior of campus will reflect the quality experience that occurs in our classrooms and labs," Beatty said in her address at the ceremony. "Once the physical transformation is complete, visitors will have, at first glance, a true appreciation of my school."
"It will help to bring people together and further develop a sense of community on campus," she added. "The plaza area will give students a place to spend time between classes, socialize and feel more a part of OU-C."
The chairman of the campus' coordinating council, Larry Gates, said the Parkway Project positions the campus for future success. He noted that the campus holds a special place in the region because of its role as an economic driver in preparing students for emerging careers and helping to ensure there is a skilled workforce to support current and prospective employers.
"With the improvement this project brings, the Chillicothe Campus now has more of the look and appearance of a small campus," Gates said. "It positions the campus well for future success and possible growth."