LIMA — The Ohio State University-Lima campus gained a big campus feature with its new Perry Webb Student Life Building. The building was dedicated Friday morning amid a crowd of onlookers including students, staff, donors, community supporters and past dignitaries from OSU-Lima.
The new $5.2 million building houses a fitness center, grab-and-go food services, an information commons, multipurpose lounge space and collaborative work spaces as well as a Starbucks. Students and faculty have been able to use the building since late spring.
“My colleagues here at the campus say that it’s just used all the time. The dynamics of student interactions are changing. The fitness center is buzzing morning and evening with people coming in to use the space. Both OSU-Lima and Rhodes State students can use this facility,” said Ohio State Provost Bruce McPheron, PhD.
It’s an important addition to the campus, as it allows students a place to go and hang out, which contributes to their college experience.
“This building is the mark of something big on our campus. A revolution of how we learn and interact,” said William Kleffner, a senior from Lima.
“To have a facility that allows them to spend time between classes, a lot of these students are commuter students, so to keep them on campus interacting with one another, interacting with staff and faculty, just adds to students’ success. We know from the work that has been done nationally and within Ohio State that the more interactions we can facilitate, the greater the student outcomes,” said McPheron.
Some of the students expressed their gratitude to the donors, letting them know the effect the building has on their student life.
“It has created a tangible and infectious energy on campus. We’re grateful to the donors and community partners who made this a reality,” said student Paige Purdy, of Minster.
The Perry Webb Student Life Building went from being a dream to reality thanks in large part to former OSU-Lima dean Charlene Gilbert.
“We’ve been talking about this building for ten years and trying to raise money for this building. They asked me to co-chair fundraising and I said yes, because I wanted to see this building built. So many people have gone into this to make it a reality, but it was moving slowly. And then came Charlene Gilbert. We wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for Charlene,” said Larry Webb.
The building is dedicated to Larry Webb’s father. His photo hangs in its lobby.
“Perry Webb, for whom the building is dedicated and named, was one of the spark plugs for getting this campus established. To have his son and daughter actually carry on through the family, that recognition and tradition is not only a terrific throwback memory to his impact, but it also serves as a change in trajectory for the campus,” said McPheron. “To see it come to fruition is just a real blessing.”
While the dedication was a public event, it was an emotional one for Mary Ellen Webb Marik, Perry Webb’s daughter.
“My father would be very humbled, and so are we. He was very active in the community and wanted to see Lima continue to be the wonderful place that it is,” said Marik.
Students can now find a space to sit and study, eat, work out or simply talk with one another.
“Today we’re here for the students. This is about a better quality of student life. No more eating in their cars, studying in their cars, watching Netflix in their cars,” joked Webb.
The addition of a Starbucks on campus has solidified the college experience.
“Honestly, I love The Webb,” said Dalton Foulder, of Jackson Center. “I always see students in here, between class, before class. This place is always hopping.”
His sentiments were echoed by Lauren Singhaus, of Lima.
“It brings people together. It’s my favorite place to study,” said Singhaus.
The Perry Webb Student Life Center has a presence on Twitter as #thewebb.
Reach Merri Hanjora at 567-242-0511.