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Center caters to faculty and staff as well as students

Nov. 14, 2006
By Natalia Lavric and Mary Alice Casey

Photos by Rick FaticaA multitude of meeting and conference spaces and an array of dining options -- from fine to fast -- make the new Baker University Center a great resource for Ohio University faculty and staff.

The university takes possession of the 183,300-square-foot facility on Nov. 17, and the move-in process begins Nov. 20. Administrative offices in the building will be open during business hours beginning Nov. 27. The facility becomes fully operational on Jan. 2.

How to reserve space in Baker University Center

Ohio University departments and registered student organizations have use of Baker University Center's meeting rooms and event spaces free of charge on a first-come, first-served basis. 

Individuals or groups not affiliated with the university may use reservable spaces on a limited basis. They may reserve rooms Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. during the academic year, and they may reserve rooms any time during summer and academic breaks up to one year in advance.   

Reservations for the following quarter are accepted beginning the sixth week of each quarter. Special event reservations may be scheduled one year in advance but require a written proposal to the reservation coordinator detailing:

  • Date and time of event
  • Number of people attending
  • Event title
  • Student organization, university department or external group name
  • Name, phone number of the contact person
  • Set-up requirements (ie., room arrangement)
  • Audio/visual equipment needs
  • Catering needs
    • All food and beverage served in the center must be provided by Ohio University Catering, which must approve any exceptions to this policy. For information about catering and food service in Baker University Center, call 740-593-4035.
  • Any additional special requirements

For reservations in the new Baker University Center, patrons can call the center's administrative office at 740-593-4020. Until Friday, Nov. 17, reservations also can be made in person in Room 201 of the current Baker Center. Baker University Center Administration will reopen on Monday, Nov. 27, in Room 347 of the new building, and reservations can be made in person there after that date.

In an effort to improve service to all event planners, all space reservations now will be made through Baker University Center and none through Ohio University Catering.

Special and/or major events in the ballroom or theater or that require use of multiple spaces should be scheduled through Jennifer Coen at coenj1@ohio.edu.

In addition to meeting and dining destinations, the building houses Student Affairs offices; a 225-seat general-purpose theater for films, speakers, panel discussions and entertainment; accommodations for student organizations and student media outlets; two art galleries, which are moving from Trisolini House and Lindley Cultural Center; a women's center; a post office; and a variety of other offices and amenities.

"We're excited to be able to show off our new facility to recruiters, alumni and parents," says Associate Professor of Accountancy Connie Esmond-Kiger, who already has reserved space in the new center for an upcoming School of Accountancy banquet. "We hope that this type of facility will create excitement and become a comfortable meeting place for many student and alumni events in the future."

The new Baker Center Ballroom -- twice the size of the circa 1954 version -- boasts state-of-the-art technology to meet all types of presentation needs. The ballroom seats up to 500 people for a meal and as many as 1,000 in rows of chairs. It bears a resemblance to the current ballroom, but is larger, carpeted and can be divided in half.

"There are innumerable combinations of meeting, dining and event space that will be ideal for hosting conferences," says Tim Hogan, interim director of Baker Center. Major campuswide events also will be well-represented in the center, Hogan says, noting that the Spring Literary Festival, the Baker Peace Conference and the Black Alumni Reunion already are booked for this coming spring.

"I organize a lot of meetings for students and staff (in the current Baker Center) and it's not the greatest," says Barbara Harrison, associate director of residence life. "The open spaces where there'll be a lot of sunlight will be great, and so will the large programming spaces like the ballroom and places you can house a lot of people. 

Meeting and conference spaces in the new center come in all shapes and sizes -- accommodating everything from a small department meeting to a reception to a large-scale professional conference. The 22 meeting spaces can serve groups ranging from eight to 125 people, and eight flexible lounge spaces are suitable for receptions, displays or guest check-in. Most spaces have built-in audio-visual equipment, and all have flexible seating arrangements.

Madeleine Scott, director of the School of Dance, has scheduled the 2007 American College Dance Festival in the center. She'll be able to take advantage of the spacious interior for her event next spring. 

"(The festival) is a 450-person event," she says. "We needed a central location other than the dance building for people to be able to gather in as well as an informal performance space."

Vision OHIO Convocation photo by Rick FaticaDining options abound in the new center. A Baker Center standard -- The Front Room Coffeehouse -- anchors the fourth floor just inside the Park Place entrance and right down the street from Alden Library. Its inviting and familiar atmosphere (and a menu that includes hot sandwiches and soup) make it an ideal location to hold informal office hours or small gatherings with colleagues.

Faculty and staff also can spend time in the Maggi Davis Dining Room, a dining area at the seven-venue food court, to enjoy a quiet meal. Tables can be reserved for planned gatherings.

A fine dining experience will be introduced to Baker Center patrons with the opening of the new facility. Latitude 39 features a variety of seafood, pasta and meat entrees as well as legal beverages. The restaurant serves lunch and dinner.

"I think that faculty will find the building very useful to them and their programs," Hogan says.

Natalia Lavric is a student writer and Mary Alice Casey is a writer and editor for University Communications and Marketing.


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Published: Nov 14, 2006 12:14:00 AM
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