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Student Senate Discusses Outside Feedback

Last Wednesday, a group called The Collaborative came to Student Senate to present their plans for Ohio Northern. The Collaborative is a private group that comes to college campuses, assesses their strengths and weaknesses and then improves the physical aspects of the campus. This includes athletic facilities, academic buildings, dorms, and even the landscaping.
The Collaborative has already had over 30 meetings on campus, getting significant feedback from trustees, faculty and staff and students. They will be returning for more meetings in May and July, and will present their final plan in September. Currently, they have created a 10-year plan for ONU’s future and shared this plan, referred to as the "master plan," with the student body. 

So how do our own students describe ONU? Students in the audience gave these descriptions: spacious, close-knit, home, beautiful, community oriented, diverse and, of course, windy. Our favorite places on campus are the Tundra, the Freed Center, the Green Monster and Fraternity Circle. Our least favorite places are the Law College, Stambaugh, Meyer and the cafeteria. 

Students also have some “sacred” areas that they think should never be touched. These include the Tundra, the pond outside the freshman dorms and the open fields behind the football stadium. 

Taking all of these views into consideration, The Collaborative developed their plan for campus.Much of that plan included renovating buildings. Major renovations include MacIntosh, Kinghorn, Dukes, Lehr, Presser, Taft, Hill and Biggs. 

The Collaborative also suggested creating a new Engineering building where the tennis courts are and relocating the tennis courts closer to the rest of the athletic facilities. Plans for Biggs in the future were not shared, but having an entirely new engineering building would definitely be a big change for all of the engineers on campus. 

The Collaborative also showed many pictures of current buildings with their ideas for facelifts. Buildings like Wilson and the Petit College of Law would seem a lot more welcoming if their main entrances were redone with glass, to give a more open appearance.

One of students’ biggest complaints is Kinghorn and the lack of accessibility and space non-athletes have. Plans to both renovate and add onto Kinghorn are being looked at currently. One idea is an indoor turf field east of the current field house. 

More athletic additions being considered are adding onto the Green Monster, creating more intramural fields, adding concessions and a press box for baseball and softball, adding more restrooms by the athletic fields and expanding the parking by the football stadium for busy weekends like Homecoming. 

The Tundra was another area The Collaborative focused on. They pointed out that the Tundra is an incredible five football fields long, including end zones! 

Adding trees along the sidewalks to line them would add appeal to campus without destroying the great open space that the Tundra provides. 

Another idea was adding an amphitheatre to the far western end of the Tundra for outdoor events and concerts. 

Social areas are an important aspect of student life that The Collaborative believed ONU was lacking. Besides the lounges in the dorms, there aren’t very many areas designated for just hanging out with friends. 

The porches in Affinity Village provide social areas, and The Collaborative wants to add more areas like these that students could use. This includes adding more benches around campus and round tables like the ones seen outside the Law College. More color inside buildings was another suggestion, taking an example from the mailroom and other bright areas on campus. More comfortable furniture in lounges was also suggested. 

Another important aspect was identifying campus. While this may seem like a simple concept since we all know the boundaries of campus, The Collaborative pointed out that only Main Street has any identifying features that really shout, “Ohio Northern University is HERE” to passerbys. 

Along Lincoln Ave and on the west side of campus by the football stadium, there’s nothing that really tells you that you’re on ONU’s campus. Their plans included adding more overhead gateways with “Ohio Northern University” written on them, similar to the sign outside of the Inn. 

Overall, The Collaborative’s suggested improvements went over well with the students that attended the meeting. Students asked questions throughout the presentation. The biggest concerns that students seemed to have were with parking and how it is zoned. There were also suggestions from students about skywalks between buildings and replacing all of the sidewalks on campus to make them uniform. 

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