DELAWARE, Ohio – Ohio Wesleyan University will break ground at 4:30 p.m. May 16 to begin an $8 million, donor-funded renovation and restoration of Merrick Hall. The community is invited to attend the celebration, which will include tours of the three-story, 19,684-square-foot building that has been closed for nearly 25 years.
The building, 65 S. Sandusky St., Delaware, was constructed with materials from nearby Blue Limestone Park and is named after Frederick Merrick, president of Ohio Wesleyan from 1860 to 1873. Merrick Hall is one of 11 locations on the Ohio Wesleyan campus listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The groundbreaking ceremony will be held on the south side of the building, with speakers scheduled to include Michael Long, J.D., OWU Class of 1966 and chairman of the university’s Board of Trustees; student Aara Ramesh, Class of 2014; Richard Smith, Ph.D., emeritus professor of history; and Amy Downing, Ph.D., professor of zoology.
During the event, a time capsule will be created to seal behind the cornerstone of the renovated building. The groundbreaking is part of Ohio Wesleyan’s 2014 Alumni Weekend.
When Merrick Hall opened in 1873, it was devoted to the study of science and was among the earliest U.S. college buildings built for such a single academic purpose. The restored building, expected to reopen in fall 2015, will house elements of the OWU Connection curricular initiative as well as classroom and event space. The OWU Connection helps Ohio Wesleyan students connect classroom theory with real-world experience in a global context.
The university received the gift to fund the Merrick Hall renovation in June 2013 and has spent nearly a year planning how best to utilize the building.
When the anonymous $8 million contribution was announced, it was the largest single outright gift in university history. Since then, Ohio Wesleyan has received a second $8 million gift to help transform the former Pfeiffer Natatorium, 105 S. Sandusky St., Delaware, into the Simpson Querrey Fitness Center. The new center will be named in recognition of renowned investment adviser Louis Simpson, OWU Class of 1958, and his wife, Kimberly Querrey. Work is expected to begin in July and be completed in fall 2015.
Ohio Wesleyan is committed to using sustainable, environmentally friendly building materials for these projects and all new construction and renovation undertaken on campus. Since 2010, two OWU buildings – the Meek Aquatics and Recreation Center and Stuyvesant Hall – have achieved LEED® Silver Certification.
Learn more about Merrick Hall and see historic photographs at merrick.owu.edu. Learn more about plans for the Simpson Querrey Fitness Center at www.owu.edu/sqfc, and learn more about giving to the university at giving.owu.edu.
Founded in 1842, Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation’s premier liberal arts universities. Located in Delaware, Ohio, the private, coed university offers more than 90 undergraduate majors, minors, and concentrations, and competes in 23 NCAA Division III varsity sports. Ohio Wesleyan combines a challenging, internationally focused curriculum with off-campus learning and leadership opportunities to connect classroom theory with real-world practice. OWU’s 1,850 students represent 42 states and 37 countries. Ohio Wesleyan is featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives,” listed on the 2013 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction, and included in the U.S. News & World Report and Princeton Review “best colleges” lists. Learn more at www.owu.edu.