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Baker Center opens to eager crowd
First impressions of and reactions to the new university center

Jan. 3, 2007
By Jessica Stark

Baker Center hours

Monday through Wednesday: 7 a.m. to 1 a.m.
Thursday and Friday: 7 a.m. to 3 a.m.
Saturday:  8 a.m. to 3 a.m.
Sunday: 10 a.m. to 1 a.m.

The new Baker University Center opened Tuesday, and an excited campus community was eager to put it to use. Within 15 minutes, students and faculty alike buzzed into the Front Room Coffeehouse for a caffeine fix, flooded the food court for a bite to eat and combed this new center of campus (on escalators, of course) for a look.

Photos by Rick FaticaSome common themes emerged in talking with the center's visitors, and one adjective came up repeatedly: gorgeous.

"This new center is gorgeous and well built. As you drive by it, you can see it is a beautiful building. Then you walk inside and it's gorgeous and has a lot of spirit," said Ann Brown, Ohio University's director of nationally competitive awards. Brown, who was an Oasis patron, is particularly excited about the Front Room.

Tera Barzak, a second-year graduate student, also is happy the coffeehouse is more centrally located on campus. "The building is a lot more than what I expected, and it's so convenient," Barzak said. "And it's just gorgeous."

Lauren Wangler photo by Rick FaticaFellow grad student Lauren Wangler echoed her sentiments. "I'm glad we're getting to experience this building," she said. "I just hope that students will get a lot of use out of it and that a lot of money wasn't just spent on showmanship."

First-year student Desmond Polk predicted that he and his fellow students will enjoy the building and that "our money has been put to good use." He said the central location of the building and the offices and services it houses will get students more involved in the campus community.

"From the outside, you realize the building is big, but you don't realize how big," said Audrone Biknevicius, a faculty member in the College of Medicine. "Once you get inside, you can just walk and walk. It's big, but it's very welcoming."

Desmond Polk photo by Rick FaticaAnne Lombard, who on Tuesday was named assistant vice president for student affairs and director of Baker University Center and campus life, is pleased with campus reaction to the building.

"We are thrilled and excited to open the new university center, because we know it is going to make such a huge impact on campus," Lombard said. "It is such a wonderful space for the university community to meet and really enjoy all that Ohio University has to offer ? from delicious food and coffee to top-notch meeting and conference facilities to beautiful scenery."

Photos by Rick FaticaWhen asked how they'd describe the building, one group of students began shouting out adjectives: awesome, spectacular, convenient, shiny, fitting for Ohio University, central, much-needed and massive.

A member of the group, Aaron Lemley, said, "This blows any other building away. It's a good investment of our college tuition."

The reaction to the center was overwhelmingly positive, however one regret was expressed: "I just wish this building would have been here when I was in school. It makes me think that I left two years too early," said alumnus Doug Daughters. "This building holds great potential and opportunities for Ohio University."

For more information, you can visit www.ohio.edu/center. But as senior Mike Dilorenzo said, "Just looking at the drawing and pictures does not do this building justice. You have to get in here to get it."

Jessica Stark is the media relations specialist with University Communications and Marketing. All photos were taken by University Photographer Rick Fatica.

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Published: Jul 20, 2006 3:50:00 PM
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