University Community

Dedicated visitor space in Baker will showcase student experience for prospective students, employers

Ohio University is improving the visitor experience for prospective students by creating dedicated space on the first and fifth floors of Baker University Center to serve as a gathering and information center and a launching point for campus tours.

Undergraduate Admissions typically hosts as many as 30,000 visitors a year. The new space in the heart of the University campus is close to convenient, accessible parking and will provide a streamlined check-in and reception area that is more visible, engaging and comfortable for visitors.

“We have one chance to make a great first impression on our visitors, and this dedicated space in Baker enhances our ability to do that,” said Candace Boeninger, Vice President for Enrollment Management. “Baker University Center, one of the most vibrant and visible buildings on campus, is a great place to showcase the experience that students can expect as part of the OHIO community.”

The renovation on the first floor includes temporary walls as the initial configuration is an experiment that Undergraduate Admissions and Baker University Center staff will use to evaluate whether longer-term changes are needed.

The first-floor renovation is part of a larger overall plan that will include several other enhancements within Baker. Some of the changes are still pending as the University seeks input from key stakeholders, including students, but could include renovation of spaces like the 1804 Lounge and the Honors Collegium into spaces that better suit the needs of today’s students.

Renovations on the fifth floor will also benefit students by combining similar, externally-oriented functions into a single space. Dedicated presentation spaces will allow Undergraduate Admissions and academic units to create more information sessions and small-visit opportunities.

Undergraduate Admissions will share space with the Advising, Career, and Experiential Learning team (The ACE), where alumni and employers will be recruiting and interviewing students. Putting the two teams in the same space will further demonstrate to prospective students and employers that OHIO takes their career preparation seriously. Investments in The ACE, both in the space and the programming, will directly benefit all undergraduate students.

The University also plans to launch a space planning study to help guide the highest and best use of spaces in Baker University Center.

“A lot has changed since Baker University Center first opened, and we believe it’s a good time to understand the needs of our current and future students,” said Associate Vice President for University Planning Shawna Wolfe. “Baker is at the heart of University life and we want to ensure that students, alumni, and visitors get the most out of their experience there.”

November 1, 2021
Staff reports