After years of delays, construction company Corna Kokosing began phase one of the renovation of the Campus Center on March 28 at Otterbein University.
"The biggest thing Otterbein is trying to achieve in this phase of the Campus Center renovation is to create more of an accessible and inclusive space for students, alumni and the rest of the community," said Jenny Hill, Otterbein's director of communications.
Phase one will include the addition of an elevator, a new entryway, a gathering area for students on the second floor and a new lobby and ticket booth for the basement theater.
The new elevator will allow access to all three levels of the Campus Center. A fresh foyer will welcome students and other visitors, and the bookstore will be relocated temporarily to the the lobby of the first floor. The current meeting rooms and the private dining room will evolve into a large fully furnished parlor.
"[The parlor] will be the main entrance to the cafeteria so students can wait for their friends in the cozy chairs, to study or just hang out," said Hill. "A few of the things the students will see that will be most impactful; most noticeable to them will be the façade and the patio in the front of the building. The addition of restrooms on the second floor and the lower level where the theater is."
After commencement on May 2, the Campus Center will be enclosed as a construction site and fenced in.
"The last day to take a picture in front of the Campus Center for nostalgia before the fencing goes up... Once you come back in the fall, it is going to look completely different," said Hill.
The Campus Center will remain open during the summer. Dining will only be accessible from the main staircase up to the Cardinal's Nest. On the first floor, portions of the lounge will be available for use, and the bookstore will remain open. The main entrance will be relocated to the back entrance and on the east side near the dock will be the accessible entrance.
"I am very excited for Otterbein, and everyone is going to love the facility. I am excited to complete the project and the final turnover," said Cory Frazier, the Corna Kokosing superintendent.
A celebration for phase one of the Campus Center's renovation will be Homecoming Weekend, September 30 – October 1, 2022.