ATHENS – The Ohio University Board of Trustees will consider changing the name of an academic building in honor of the Patton family during its October meetings on the Athens campus.

It will also review a “portfolio reduction strategy” that includes designating a list of surplus properties for possible sale – a list that includes Dysart Woods, an old-growth forest in Belmont County that in the past has been a focus of intense controversy over plans to mine it for coal.

In addition, the board will consider adding a regional trustee to the board, which according to a university news release will bring an important voice representing the areas around the university’s regional campuses and strengthen the ties Ohio University has with those communities.

The board will meet from 8 a.m.–4:45 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 7, for its regular meetings, and 8 a.m.–1:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 8, for a board retreat. Thursday meetings will be held in person in Walter Hall on the Athens Campus, while the retreat will be held at Heritage Hall. An audio stream of the Thursday meetings will also be available.

Items on the board agenda include:

Building renaming

The board will consider a resolution to rename the home of the Gladys W. and David H. Patton College of Education from its current name, McCracken Hall, to Gladys W. and David H. Patton Hall.

The Patton College was named in honor of Dr. Violet L. Patton’s philanthropic commitments to the college in 2010. Violet Patton committed $13.3 million that year to establish the Violet L. Patton Center for Arts Education, and an additional $28 million to honor her parents, Gladys W. and David H. Patton, with the naming of the college. She committed an additional $22 million in 2019 to support the capital projects for which she has demonstrated unwavering commitment and passion over the past decade.

The current McCracken Hall was approved for renovation in 2015, a project made possible in large part by Violet Patton’s generosity. All parties involved also recognize the contributions of Thomas Cook McCracken, for whom the building was named in 1963 due to his service as dean of the College of Education and OHIO’s first provost. Suitable interior space will be identified and named in honor of Dr. McCracken at a future date.

Regional trustee proposal

The board will be asked to amend its bylaws to add a non-voting regional trustee to its membership, in appreciation for and recognition of the valuable contributions and insights to be gained from adding the regional representative.

Ohio University President Hugh Sherman proposed the addition of the seat during the board’s meeting in August.

Portfolio reduction strategy

The board will review the next implementation actions of OHIO’s portfolio reduction strategy. This includes a request for the board to declare certain real properties as surplus and allow them to be included on a forthcoming Land Conveyance Bill. While a Land Conveyance Bill authorizes the sale of real property within the three-year period after passage of the bill, it does not require the sale should an alternate course of action ultimately be chosen. The real properties identified for divestment were selected after review of several key factors such as utilization, property location, alignment with University strategic needs, and financial impact.

The properties include:

• Lasher Hall

• Central Classroom Building

• Haning Hall

• Crewson House

• 31 S. Court St.

• Hebbardsville Farm (partial)

• The Ridges (only buildings currently designated for external use)

• Black Farm Horse Park (Chillicothe Campus)

• Ohio Horse Park (Southern Campus)

• Dysart Woods (Eastern Campus)

• Pickerington Center (Lancaster Campus)

• Four acres on Lancaster Campus

• Campus and Community Center (Southern Campus)

Different courses of action will be pursued for each of the properties. In some cases, attempts will first be made to lease the properties. In others, only portions of the properties identified would be considered for sale. In a few instances, the University has already been approached by potential buyers of the land in question. And in many cases, any sale would include any deed restrictions necessary to ensure that property uses are compatible with the mission and strategy of the University.

The discussion will also include a timeline for efforts related to property on The Ridges designated for external use, as well as a request for approval of the demolition of Scott Quad.

Scott Quad is currently not in use, but the site is considered valuable for the University’s future programmatic needs. The facility has been designated for demolition after a significant review of safety issues, deferred maintenance issues, accessibility, and programmatic alignment.

Capital projects

The board will be asked to approve a number of capital projects. They are:

• Convocation Center electrical, heating and air conditioning, and fire system improvements: This project, budgeted at about $15.3 million, would implement a phased replacement of major building systems to extend their useful life. This includes upgrades to elevator, fire protection, fire alarm, electrical and HVAC systems.

• Gamertsfelder Hall restroom and HVAC renovation: This project, budgeted at $10.75 million, would replace failing plumbing systems, install upgraded HVAC systems to alleviate moisture issues, and upgrade aesthetics in the restrooms in the building.

• Scott Quad demolition: This project, budgeted at $3.6 million, would be for demolition of Scott Quad, which has significant deferred maintenance issues including roof and window replacement needs.

• Ridges Building 33 voltage transition: This project, budgeted at $1.65 million, would transition the existing 2,400-volt electrical system, which is outdated and for which parts are no longer available, to a modern, more reliable 12,470-volt system.

• Bromley Hall building-based heating system: This project, budgeted at $600,000, will transition Bromley to a building-based heating system.

• Ridges Building 33 deaerator replacement: This project, budgeted at $530,000, would replace the existing deaerator and study the feasibility of transitioning each building served steam by Building 33 to a building-based heating system.

The full board agenda is available at Attendees will be required to wear masks during the meetings. The meetings will also be broadcast via an audio stream. The Oct. 7 Governance, Academics and Resources committee meetings, along with the main board meeting, will be streamed here, while the Audit Committee meeting will be streamed here.

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