As you can imagine, planning for Otterbein’s future can be a daunting but exciting task. While strategic business plans came to the forefront for Otterbein’s vision and mission, master development plans were being created to support the planning efforts in positioning the campus for the 21st century. The committee, chaired by Vice President for Business Affairs Rebecca Vazquez-Skillings, enlisted the creative planning services of The Collaborative, Inc., based in Toledo, OH.
"We were eager to commence studies of the campus to create more inviting spaces that encourage diverse opportunities for learning, collaboration, relaxation and that build a greater sense of community," said Vazquez-Skillings. “The first phase of work in the Courtright Memorial Library is a great example with the new study booths on the first floor and additional seating in the front lobby and café area. New technology and collaborative work stations were added on the first floor along with comfortable couches, chairs and lamps.”
Guests were treated to the new look in the library Homecoming weekend and learned more about the Master Plan from President Kathy Krendl. “The Grove landscaping concept is very exciting and forward thinking,” noted President Krendl. “The concept establishes a pedestrian mall and community space through the closure of Grove Street between Main and Home streets, water features, seating and tables — all to foster a social gathering space en route to classes, dining and living. Otterbein is conducting studies with the city of Westerville to monitor traffic patterns on Grove and to learn more about the feasibility of installing a “traffic calming feature” at the intersection of Main and Grove streets in the future.
Updates to landscaping occurred during the summer and fall including sprucing up the entry to the Clippinger Building that houses the Admission Offices and the gateway entrance to Towers off the corner of Main and Grove Street with new shrubs, flowers and mulch. Improvements to the Towers lawn are planned, including a new courtyard, walkway and benches. The Austin E. Knowlton Center for Equine Science has plans on the block, too, for expanded stall capacity and an additional indoor arena to accommodate more classes and training opportunities.
“We look forward to continuing our work with The Collaborative, Inc., and executing Otterbein’s multi-year Master Plan for the next 10 years,” said Vazquez-Skillings. “Other initiatives that we will study this year include Battelle Hall, Cowan Hall, the Campus Center and 60 Collegeview Rd. These are exciting times on campus and provide an opportunity to reflect our vision and values through our facilities and open spaces.”