LIMA — A short ceremony held at the Ohio State University-Lima campus kicked off construction of a new 15,000-square-foot student center.
The estimated $5.2 million building will be called the Perry Webb Student Life Building in memory of Webb, who was instrumental in bringing the regional campus to Lima.
OSU-Lima Dean Charlene Gilbert said the project has been in the works for some time and she felt grateful to see it come to fruition.
“I had only been here for about a year (at the time),” Gilbert said. “I remember getting a letter from a student wanting to start a club on campus. She said something about sitting in her car between classes and watching Netflix. It was that day that I decided we were going to have a student life center.”
Gilbert thanked local government leaders and donors for supporting the project. Lima Mayor David Berger and Rep. Bob Cupp were among officials in attendance.
The building will feature a fitness center, grab-and-go food services, an information commons and collaborative work space, and several multipurpose lounge spaces. Completion date is expected in spring 2018.
OSU Executive Vice President and Provost Bruce A. McPheron said the building will improve campus for students.
“About one fourth of the 55,000 students on the OSU campus started at a regional campus,” McPheron said. “This will be transforming for our students. The point is that they will think of this as a home. This will be a game-changer.”
Mary Ellen Marik, a daughter of the late Perry Webb, said her father would have extremely happy with the project.
“My father understood the importance of education,” Marik said. “He knew it wasn’t available to many. Some people couldn’t go 90 miles or more down the road.”
The new building will be located in what was the employee parking lot between Galvin Hall and the Public Service Building.
Reach Lance Mihm at 567-242-0409 or on Twitter@LanceMihm