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Ohio University to address need for more study space with a new academic center

The Board of Trustees will be presented a resolution for review and approval at the next board meeting that would allow the University to proceed with the design phase for a new academic center. The Board also will be presented with “The Perry and Sandy Sook Academic Center” for consideration as a possible name for the facility.

A series of space analyses in recent years culminating with the passage of the Comprehensive Master Plan in March 2016 determined there was a deficiency in academic study space for student-athletes in the Athletic Department. Currently, study space for student-athletes is limited to only the 4th floor of Peden Stadium.

The new academic center project will be funded entirely by Athletics, predominantly through private donors, and strategically located in close proximity to the University’s athletic fields and facilities. The facility will address study and instruction needs associated with student-athletes as well as those students working with them on group projects. The Sook Center also will enable the University to provide much-needed ADA restrooms to the Peden stadium complex.

Ohio University President Roderick J. McDavis, who also serves as chairman of the NCAA’s Committee on Academics, says designated study space for student-athletes is common on college campuses throughout the country and something OHIO has needed to improve for some time.

“While participation in Division I intercollegiate athletics is a major accomplishment, completing a college education leads you to a profession and knowledge that lasts a lifetime. For this reason, we stress the importance of student over athlete at Ohio University,” President McDavis said. 

Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Jim Schaus also believes such a facility is long overdue.

“Adequate study space is critical for these students to maximize their academic and career potential, meet NCAA standards, graduate and prepare for future career opportunities,” Schaus said.

The facility will include a classroom, computer lab, tutor rooms, offices for staff to have student meetings and meeting rooms for group study. Student-athletes spend hours each day at practice and the close proximity to OHIO’s athletic facilities and fields will enable them to also spend hours on their studies.

“When you try to perform to the best of your ability on the field and in the classroom, you need the best available resources to achieve your goals,” said Elijah Ball, a red-shirt freshman football player. “Having a new building, specifically for academics, will create a larger learning environment and establish a positive atmosphere where all student-athletes can focus on their academics.”

The Board of Trustees is scheduled to meet June 24 in Lancaster. An agenda can be found here