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The board is discussing the future of Park Place corridor. April 17, 2018.

Here’s what you need to know about future Park Place construction

The former Ohio University presidential residence will turn into an “academic engagement center” for self-identified honors students.

At the Board of Trustees meeting in March, trustees approved resolutions allowing $2.3 million to renovate 29 Park Place and the carriage house. In 2016, former OU President Roderick McDavis established a work group to develop the Park Place planning strategy to “enhance the vitality” of the space through its use. 

“It’s the opportunity for any student to self-identify as a scholar, is what this new program is about, what it means to be a scholar,” Dean of Students Jenny Hall-Jones said. “The hub of that is supposed to be this renovation to Park Place.”

University Planner Shawna Bolin said the first floor of Park Place will be open to the public for “community activity,” according to a previous Post report. 

The residence will house an innovation room, social and study space, meetings spaces, honors or scholars offices and academic engagement offices, interim Honors Tutorial College Dean Cary Frith said at the March Board of Trustees meeting. 

“I think the exciting part is trying to elevate the connections between what it means to be an honors student at Ohio University,” Hall-Jones said. 

The honors program, which will be piloted in the fall, aims to help connect academic resources and students who are not the Honors Tutorial College or in scholarship programs like the Margaret Boyd Scholars but are serious students. The new program would complement the Honors Tutorial College with a broader honors program of about 1,000 students, according to a previous Post report

As the “hub of pedestrian activity” at the crossroads of Baker Center, Park Place corridor will be renovated to improve the flow of traffic.

The corridor, or the space between Alden Library and Baker Center, will also undergo major construction to better accommodate vehicle and foot traffic and foster a “peaceful reflective moment” for students when they enter the corridor. 

Ideas for exterior construction center around 29 Park Place. It would increase green space by removing driving lanes and make crosswalks bigger.

Instead of having the two roads, the plan includes having “one real road” and making the green space nicer, Hall-Jones said. 

Exterior plans also include rehabilitation of the garden space behind the presidential residence. 

“That whole back yard, the dream of that is to make it a terrace garden again,” Hall-Jones said. 

Due to funding, that garden space may be landscaped as part of a student’s project or be turned into a community garden.

The Park Place corridor will turn into a “mini campus” to “raise the profile of academic engagement,” interim Vice President and Provost Elizabeth Sayrs said at the Board of Trustees meeting in March. 

Construction for Park Place will likely begin in summer 2019.


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