Baker University Center has everything and more that an Ohio University student needs. In fact, the center has quite a few things area residents like as well. The facility is well worth checking out, even if you just stop in to ride the escalators.
Below are a few items of interest about the facility.
The new Baker Center opened to students in January 2007 and replaced the old Baker Center, which opened in 1954, when OHIO enrollment was at 5,200 students. Today, the university has more than 20,000 students on the Athens campus. Initially, the top two floors of the original six-story building served as residence hall space.
The center is named in honor of John Calhoun Baker, the 14th president of Ohio University.
The old Baker Center had 9,000 square feet. The new Baker University Center has more than 20 times more space than the old building with 183,000 square feet of space.
Baker University Center has five floors, plus a two-story parking garage (the bottom floor is underground.) The above ground parking lot has 96 spaces that are open to faculty and staff. The underground lot has 170 spaces that cost 75 cents per hour and 50 spaces that can be reserved for faculty, staff and students.
The facility has more than 80 offices, along with numerous meeting rooms and lounges.
More than 345,000 bricks were used in constructing the building.
In addition, more than 15,000 cubic yards of concrete and more than seven miles worth of wood trim were used to construct the facility.
Another 140,000 bricks were used at the end of South Court Street in the plaza area around the fourth-floor entryway.
Baker University Center's main features include West 82 - the facility's food court, a ballroom that accommodates up to 1,000 people, and a 225-seat theatre, as well as a four-story escalator system.
Other features include the homes of many student-run organizations. Among them are the student newspaper - The Post, radio station - ACRN, yearbook - The Athena, video organization - AVW Productions and Backdrop Magazine - OHIO's student-run magazine organization. The center also features the Front Room coffeehouse; an OHIO apparel store; the university's Women's Center; a multicultural center; a casual dining restaurant, Latitude 39; two art galleries; a billiards lounge; and other lounge areas throughout the building.
In addition to the escalators that run from the 1st to 4th floor, the facility has an elevator that runs from the underground parking level to the 1st floor, and four elevators that run from floors 1 to 5.
For those who want to go from one floor to the next the old-fashioned way, the facility also has stairs inside the building, along with a staircase that runs down the side of the building. Inside, the stairway has 107 steps, plus an additional 24 steps that travel from the first floor to the underground parking area.
The outside stairway along the side of the building has 92 steps.
While the escalators, the first in Athens County, receive a lot of attention, they are actually the slowest way to get from the 4th floor to the 1st floor.
It takes 1:09 minutes for an average walk down the steps on the side of the building.
It takes 46 seconds (on average) from the time you push the elevator button on the bottom floor until you arrive on the 4th floor, if there are not stops on floors two or three. This time may be longer or shorter, depending on how long you have to wait for the elevator to arrive on the first floor. The elevator definitely has the potential to be the quickest way to travel in the building, but it can also have the most delays.
It takes 1:12 minutes to take the escalators from the 4th floor down to the 1st floor if you just ride the escalator and don't walk as it's going. If you are able to walk unobstructed down the escalator, it takes 39 seconds to get from the 4th floor to the 1st floor. However, if people are standing in your way, this time will go up. You only save at most 33 seconds by walking instead of riding the escalators!
Baker University Center has men's and women's restrooms on every floor (two each on most) and a total of 19 urinals and 54 stalls.
In 2008, the Technology Depot moved from the HDL Center on West Union St. to the first-floor of Baker University Center. The Tech Depot is available for students wishing to purchase software, hardware, new OHIO ID cards and to answer technological conundrums.