Campus gets a facelift, $10.4-million project funds beautification renovations

Campus gets a facelift, $10.4-million project funds beautification renovations


Ella Cummins

The campus beautification project kept Ashland’s campus humming over the summer with repaved walkways, plazas and dorm renovations.

As students have been soaking up the sun during summer break, Ashland University has been busy renovating the interior and exterior of college facilities.

Gifts from Dwight Schar and Jan and Bob Archer are funding the dorm renovations as well as the beautification projects that included new walkways, plazas and lighting across campus.

Clayton Hall will look completely different to students from the spring semester.

“Clayton was probably the most dramatic and largest project,” Rick Ewing, vice president of operations and planning said.

According to Ewing, all nine floors are now semi-private bathrooms for every four-person suite, laundry rooms on every other floor, air conditioning, new windows, a new roof, new furniture and better fire protection in the building. Two floors of the dorm were done last year.

Dwight Schar donated $9 million towards beautification and renovation projects, with Jan and Bob Archer supplementing the rest of the costs through previous and current gifts to the university. The total cost of the projects are approximately $10.4 million.

“We have leveraged both donor dollars together to be able to accomplish these things and it has given us a wonderful opportunity to make this happen,” Ewing said.

The Kem and Clark dorms have also received a refresh that includes new flooring, paint, and lighting. The elevator in Clark Hall was also replaced.

According to Ewing, the library lecture hall is also in the process of getting an upgrade and will be finished a couple of weeks into the fall semester.

The old Accent Room restaurant in the bottom of Convo has been remodeled into a dietetics food lab as well.

Most notable to members of the Ashland community have been the widespread exterior improvements across the campus, the most notable being new walkways along Claremont Avenue with new lighting that have been moved back from the street for safety reasons.

The pedestrian bridge across Claremont Avenue, which cannot be missed when driving through town, is being renovated and will include new signage.

Around Convo, new exterior steps are being built between the upper and lower levels, along with new plazas with seating and landscaping.

“This project is going to take a while, but is going to be a striking change when we see the end result,” Ewing said.

The proposed Jefferson Street walkway between Claremont Avenue and Broad Street will be receiving matching brick inlay to match the other renovated walkways across campus.

AU has petitioned the city to vacate Jefferson Street so it can become a private street for the university, and make it more secure. City Council has not acted on the request yet.

“Our intent and design is to maintain the roadway off of Claremont Avenue to be able to get into lot E and lot J,” Ewing said.

Moving into the academic side of campus, all brick sidewalks have been replaced with concrete in the Quad.

The walkways between the student center and academic corridor have also been renovated, where there will be a dedication event with Dwight Schar on Saturday, Aug. 27.

On top of all of the major renovations, AU will be updating all signage and making it consistent throughout the college over the course of the year.

A construction worker tirelessly works on the newly built arches near the AU Student Center. (Ella Cummins)