The renovations to Bush Hall included a new, expanded and fully accessible entrance.
Photographer: Nick Hart
The exterior of Bush Hall is seen in this photo taken during the initial stages of the renovation project.
Photographer: Nick Hart
Pictured is the new main lobby/central living room on the first floor of Bush Hall, which includes open space for programming as well as a fireplace.
Photographer: Nick Hart
Jan 22, 2014
By Angela Woodward
Students returning to Ohio University’s East Green after winter break likely noticed the completion of the latest milestone in improvements to student housing on the Athens Campus.
A newly renovated and slightly larger Bush Hall reopened to students beginning this semester.
Built in 1954, Bush Hall underwent a $9.1 million renovation that began in January 2013. The project was fully funded by Residential Housing Auxiliary Reserves.
Among the renovations, all designed to improve the quality of the student experience at OHIO, are:
According to Jneanne Hacker, associate director of Residential Housing’s business operations, 91 students are living in the 102-bed Bush Hall this semester.
Residential Housing allowed students who were on campus during fall semester the opportunity to submit a request to reside in Bush Hall when it reopened. The department prioritized those requests by determining which room changes would result in complete vacancies of other rooms on campus. Students who were granted room changes were allowed to move their personal belongings into Bush Hall prior to departing for winter break, which opened up rooms in other residence halls for new students admitted to campus for spring semester.
Francis Connelly, a junior enrolled in the Health Services Administration program at OHIO’s College of Health Sciences and Professions, and her roommate decided to relocate to Bush Hall from the also recently renovated Bromley Hall.
“While being uptown was nice and convenient, I love being on East Green,” Connelly said. “There’s more going on here, and there’s more of a sense of community on East Green. Plus, I’m a lot closer to Shively Dining Hall, which is where I like to eat.
“We love the building,” Connelly said of the renovations to Bush Hall. When asked what she enjoys most about her new home away from home, Connelly said, “Having a sink in my room.”
There are still vacancies in Bush Hall. Students may request to move into Bush Hall by visiting http://www.ohio.edu/myhousing and submitting a room change request.
According to Hacker, while there are currently no restrictions on residing in Bush Hall, it will be reserved for first-year students during the 2014-15 academic year.
Bush Hall is the sixth residence hall to undergo renovations since 2001 with the previous five being Lincoln, Johnson, Read, Biddle and Shively Halls. All of these buildings are located on the East Green and are some of the oldest residence halls on campus, having been constructed in the 1950s.
According to Christine Sheets, assistant vice president for Student Affairs, the next residence hall renovation – at Jefferson Hall – is in its planning stages. Part of the University’s six-year capital improvement plan, developed within a 20-year context, the renovated Jefferson Hall is tentatively scheduled to open in the fall of 2018.
In addition to the renovations to OHIO’s existing residence halls, the University continues to see progress on Phase I of its Housing Development Plan. Phase I includes the construction of four separate residence hall buildings as well as a central learning commons and a housing office building co-located in a separate facility connected to the southern residence halls on property located to the east of Clippinger Laboratories and to the north of the Ping Center. Phase I is estimated to cost $110 million.
Site preparation and construction on the project began over the summer, and a large portion of the project’s utility infrastructure has been completed over the past several months. According to Sheets, precast concrete panels, otherwise known as the walls, will be installed on the first residence hall later this month.
All four of those residence halls are scheduled to open in the fall of 2015.
Real-time footage of the Phase I construction is available at http://oxblue.com/open/OUHousing.
Constructed in 1954 to serve as student housing, Bush Hall is one of the oldest residence halls on Ohio University’s Athens Campus.
Bush Hall was named in honor of Frederick W. Bush, a native of Renrock, Ohio, who received a bachelor of pedagogy degree from Ohio University in 1892. Bush was the manager and editor of The Athens Messenger for more than 30 years and was recognized as one of the most successful newspaper publishers in the Midwest. He served on the Ohio University Board of Trustees from 1922 through 1929.