Demolition of the Weld House is planned for this summer as a part of the Ohio University Housing Master Plan, which will open the area up to recreational green space and hardscapes, such as sidewalks and pathways, focused on student engagement.
Weld House was selected for demolition because of the building’s deferred maintenance costs as well as its remote location in comparison to other residence halls, Adam Dannaher, director for Housing Capital and Facilities Planning, Department of Housing and Residence Life, said. Named after OU’s first female faculty member Cynthia Weld, Weld House stopped housing students in 2019.
Dannaher said the plans for the green space and hardscapes have not yet been started, but student focus groups will be engaged to generate ideas for student engagement.
This project will also demolish the catwalk that connects the building to Nelson Court. Steve Wood, chief facilities officer, said at the recent Board of Trustees meeting that housing revenues will be used to fund this $2.5 million project.
The Housing Master Plan allowed for the building of new residence halls on South Green, including Luchs, Tanaka, Carr and Sowle. Older South Green dorms were to be phased out during the 2019-2020 school year. However, some buildings were used for quarantine housing, according to a previous Post report.
Lizzy Roth, an OU alumna, lived in Martzolff House during her sophomore year, which was demolished in 2017 as part of the master plan. Lizzy Roth spoke highly of the mod-style dorms in Martzolff, which allow students to share a central living area with separate halls of students.
“I have mixed feelings about back south being demolished,” Lizzy Roth said in an email. “I had a great experience in the mod-style res hall, however I know those buildings were built in the 1970s, with the plan to only leave them up for 10 years. The walls were not stable, at all! I wish they would have rebuilt (at least some of) them in the same style, rather than adding to the suite-style dorms.”
This style of dorm helps students break out of their comfort zones and meet new people, Lizzy Roth said.
Becca Roth, a senior studying sports management, never lived in a Back South dorm like her sister Lizzy Roth did but agreed that the mod-style rooms offered different benefits than the suite-style dorms. Becca Roth said she did not have a lot of interaction with other people in her building while living in a suite-style dorm.
“Going into my second year, I was actually considering getting a single in Hoover,” Becca Roth said. “I like the atmosphere around it, and there’s also a lot of history that goes into over there, which I think is pretty cool.”
Becca Roth thinks that in the time of the COVID-19, having mod-style housing is not ideal for minimizing interactions between students. However, Becca said she would like to see it brought back in the coming years.
“There is a lot of history behind them, but I think there’s just a lot of structural issues,” Becca Roth said. “It probably is a good idea to tear them down and use it for green space. A lot of OU alum have awesome memories of over there and I think that it’ll be kind of a bittersweet moment.”