Wood Hall receives $3.5M renovation

RIO GRANDE, Ohio – What can $3.5 million buy?

How about a new student lounge, wireless computer lab, conference room, Psychology and Social Work observation studios, new furniture, new roofing, a new heating and cooling system and a host of other bells and whistles throughout Wood Hall.

The 37,957-square-foot renovation is currently underway. The project reaffirms the University of Rio Grande/Rio Grande Community College’s commitment to preparing students for success in a global community through an engaging and safe educational environment.

“We’re very excited,” said Rebecca Long, Vice President of Administration for RGCC. “It’s a highly mechanical project with a lot of technical elements. We plan to start holding classes there in the fall of 2014. It is an aggressive timeline but we believe we can make it.”

The $3.5 million price tag is covered by capital money awarded to RGCC through the State Capital Bill, Ohio’s second in six years. Rio Grande submitted its capital report request in October 2012, was notified of the award in April and encumbered the funds in October.

R.W. Setterlin of Columbus was the lowest bidder and took possession of the project on Oct. 17 with 300 days to complete the renovations.

Wood Hall has served as one of the primary instructional facilities on campus since it first opened in 1988. Plans to update the facility stemmed from the Decade of Dreams strategic plan and Campus Master Plan, each spearheaded by President Dr. Barbara Gellman-Danley

When complete, the renovations will provide an optimal educational environment for students, faculty and staff.

“I’m looking forward to seeing the finished product,” said Dr. Heather Duda, an English professor and director of the Honors Program, whose office will reside in Wood Hall. “My students are anticipating an updated, modern look throughout the facility. These changes will make Wood Hall an inviting and contemporary academic space.”

One of the major changes sure to please is the student lounge located on the first floor in the North Wing. Students will enjoy a laptop bar, vending machines and comfortable furniture for studying and socializing.

Students also will benefit from a wireless computer lab on the second floor of the South Wing. Other amenities geared toward students are new furniture throughout the common areas and classrooms, new seating in the lecture hall and a new heating and cooling system to ensure a cozy environment year-round.

The renovation also calls for a host of instructional upgrades. These include a 20-person conference room, conversion of four classrooms into one large classroom for approximately 80 people, Psychology and Social Work observation studios, and an office for Dr. David Lawrence, Associate Provost and Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences.

The project also will allow for the Gallia-Jackson Education Service Center to nearly double its presence in Wood Hall.

The architectural plans – by RVC Architects Inc. of Athens, which also completed the Campus Master Plan – provides four potential upgrades that require additional funding.

The four potential upgrades include:

• Family restroom: former break room on the second floor would be transformed into a family restroom.

• Faculty lounge and study: two second-floor offices would be transformed into a faculty lounge and study.

• Restroom upgrade: two first-floor restrooms would be significantly upgraded.

• Office lighting: office lighting throughout Wood Hall would be upgraded.

“The funds received are part of the previous capital biennium budget given to Rio Grande Community College,” Dr. Gellman-Danley said. “This project represents a great deal of preparation and lobbying on behalf of Rio and its learners. We were delighted the leadership at the state level responded so positively, as this represents substantially more capital dollars earmarked for us than in any past budget."

For more information on supporting the Wood Hall renovation, contact Executive Vice President and Vice President for Institutional Advancement Paul Harrison at Harrison@rio.edu or 740-245-7203.