Otterbein Campus Center Renovations Begin with a Focus on Accessibility.
Construction work for this first phase of the Campus Center renovation will run from March through August 2022. It is important to create a welcoming and inclusive space for all members of our campus community, so this phase will focus on accessibility.
Phase 1 will improve accessibility at the Campus Center with a new elevator at the southwest corner of the building, plaza in front of the building with improved ramps, and restrooms on the second floor and lower level, which houses the Campus Center Theatre.
This phase also will include an upgraded building entry, modifications to the Bookstore, second-floor parlor, a new entrance to the dining hall, and improved lower-level theatre lobby and ticket booth.
Most interior spaces will continue to be used throughout the summer. The Campus Center will continue to house the Cardinal’s Nest cafeteria; OtterDen and convenience store; Bookstore; “The Pit” Theatre; multiple lounges; and the offices for the Center for Student Involvement and the Otterbein University Student Government (OUSG). Dining Rooms 1, 2, and 3, and the Private Dining Room will be closed permanently. The front entrance and the bookstore will be temporarily relocated during construction.
Phase 1 will cost $3.5 million, of which a significant amount has already been fundraised and the remainder is coming from our capital budget.
Look for more information on this project and related activities and events coming soon!
Campus Center Renovation Stats
Dates: March-August 2022
Scope of work: New elevator at the southwest corner of the building; plaza in front of the building with improved ramps; restrooms on the second floor and lower level; upgraded building entry; second-floor parlor; new entrance to the dining hall; and lower-level theatre lobby and ticket booth.
Cost: $3.5 million
Contruction: Corna Kokosing
Architect: BHDP Architecture
Square footage: Phase 1 will improve 8,432 of the total 64,000 square feet.
The Campus Center in 1964
Campus Center Lounge in 1964
Campus Center Lobby, 1965
The Roost, 1966
The Roost, 1966
History of the Campus Center
In the beginning there was no need for a Campus Center. Students took their meals in dormitory dining rooms, and social activities centered on organizations such as the Literary Societies (which had their halls in Towers Hall), the YMCA and YWCA (for whom the Association Building was named), and the Church (which as of 1916 was located in its own spacious sanctuary adjacent to campus). The University first expanded its dining facilities in 1948 with Barlow Hall, built adjacent to Cochran Hall. Student activities got a boost in 1947 when a surplus Army building was secured for the college, with room enough for a large lounge where dances could be held and a snack bar. Though initially called the “Otterbarn,” the building was later renamed the Student Union.
As enrollment continued to grow through the 1950s, the needs of the student body changed and grew. In 1961 Otterbein announced a 10-year plan to expand campus. According to the Tan and Cardinal, “Students are now contributing $300,000 toward the proposed dining center. Latest plans indicate that the campus center will be combined with the central dining area in one building to be located on Home Street and facing Cochran Hall.”
A committee was formed to direct the project, consisting of President Lynn W. Turner; Deans David Waas, Marion Chase, and Joanne Van Sant; Business Manager Sanders Frye; faculty members James Recob and Robert Price; and four students. On Oct. 10, 1962, the committee unanimously approved the plans for what would become Otterbein’s Campus Center.
Ground was broken the first week of February 1963, and the building was first occupied for student use in August 1964. Featured in the new building was a snack bar (later named The Roost), the University bookstore (which boasted it had 288 pairs of tan and cardinal-colored pajamas for the freshman bonfire), a main dining hall large enough to accommodate the entire student body, and smaller dining rooms for private luncheons and special occasions. (A recreation room featuring pool tables and vending machines, and offices for the T&C and the Sibyl were not completed until February 1965.) The Campus Center was officially dedicated at Homecoming on Oct. 31, 1964, with a ceremony officiated by former Otterbein president Dr. J. Gordon Howard.
As the campus has grown and evolved over the years, so too, has the Campus Center. The basement recreation area (known as “The Pit”) was converted into a thrust theatre in 1967 and was home to Otterbein’s renowned Summer Theatre program for many years. Student mailboxes started out in the basement, then moved to the first floor, and in 1999 were moved to Towers Hall. The publication offices moved out, but the Center for Center for Student Involvement and the Campus Activities Board (CAB) moved in. We look forward to the changes that the upcoming renovation will bring to further expand and improve the role that the Campus Center plays in the daily life of the University.