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First Ridges Advisory Committee meeting outlines Master Plan process

The advisory committee charged with providing feedback and recommendations on the 2014 Ridges Master Plan update, which will detail future uses of the Ohio University buildings and land located at The Ridges, began their work Friday with their first meeting.

President Roderick J. McDavis convened the meeting, which was open to the public and gathered the six Ridges Advisory Committee members from the University, City of Athens and Athens County. Vice President for Finance and Administration Stephen Golding serves as chair of the Ridges Advisory Committee. Other members representing the city and the county are Paul Logue, Charlie Adkins, Jim Sands, Marjorie Stone and Pam Callahan.

The Ridges Advisory Committee will be offering feedback to the Ridges Master Plan Committee. The Ridges Master Plan Committee is tasked with the work of updating the Ridges Master Plan document. Proposals for the land and buildings have been laid out in several plans, including a Ridges Master Plan drafted in 1989, another study from 2001 and the most current plan located within the Vision Ohio Master Planning Report. Associate Vice President for Facilities Harry Wyatt and Director of University Planning and Space Management Shawna Bolin serve as co-chairs of the Ridges Master Plan Committee, which is made up of several University administrators, members of the academic community and city and county planners.

Three subcommittees within the Ridges Master Plan Committee will focus on possible academic uses, land use/development and the usefulness of existing buildings. These subcommittees will consist of between eight and 12 members and will be led by individual chairs, aided by a facilitator. The subcommittees will report their analyses to the Ridges Master Plan committee for the purpose of formulating an update of the Ridges Master Plan to best suit the University's needs, both presently and for the future.

Throughout the process, which is expected to take a little longer than a year, the Ridges Advisory Committee will receive updates and have the opportunity to provide their perspective. During the Ridges Advisory Committee's initial meeting, McDavis told the group, he is looking to them to form suggestions to guide the future use of The Ridges.

"Your role is representing yourself and the community. Take what the subcommittees are presenting and ask the questions that need to be asked. Offer your perspective and frame that to me as a set of recommendations," McDavis told the Ridges Advisory Committee members.

The Ridges Master Plan group aims to have a final report to McDavis in the spring of 2015. Time is of the essence, explained Golding, as several of the older buildings are in disrepair. The University routinely makes repairs to roofs and windows and does periodically review the buildings, but maintenance on the main campus takes priority as it affects the health and safety of OHIO employees and students. The Ridges Master Plan committee will be meeting frequently, often once a month, with a smaller, core group meeting weekly.

Golding reminded the Ridges Advisory Committee members that the University's Six-Year Capital Plan has significant investments in physical structure. The plans for The Ridges must work in harmony with the Capital Plan's projects, many of which are under way or will begin in the near future.

"We need to not only think about what we build, but also where we build it. There needs to be alignment between those plans and the efforts of this study," Golding said.  

The Ridges Advisory Committee will meet several times over the next year and in an effort to maintain transparency in the process all meetings will be open to the public. Public comment, however, should be passed along to the individual Ridges Master Plan subcommittees for which the comment is most applicable. The next full Ridges Advisory Committee meeting is slated for March 2014 and will be announced in Compass.


Ridges Advisory Committee members include:

Stephen Golding (chair), vice president for Finance and Administration and president's designee

Charlie Adkins, Athens County commissioner

Jim Sands, Athens City Council president

Marjorie Stone, Athens resident

Paul Logue, Athens city planner and mayor's designee

Pam Callahan, Athens resident

Ridges Master Plan Committee members:

Shawna Bolin, co-chair, director of University Planning and Space Management

Harry Wyatt, co-chair, associate vice president for Facilities

Donna Goss, Land Use/Development subcommittee chair, director of Engagement and Real Estate Management

Joseph Shields, Academic Uses subcommittee chair, vice president for Research and Creative Activity and dean of the Graduate College

Ben Stuart, Existing Buildings subcommittee chair, executive director of the Institute for Sustainable Energy and the Environment

Cliff Hamilton, environmental engineer

Dick Planisek, director of Facilities Programming

John Day, associate dean of Academic Affairs

Joe Adams, associate vice president of Safety and Risk Management

Paul Logue, Athens City planner

Lori Burchett, Athens County planner

Annie Laurie Cadmus, director of Sustainability