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Jefferson Hall renovation in full swing; temporary market to open Aug. 18 (PHOTOS)


Over the past several years, the Ohio University community has witnessed a period of transformation on the Athens Campus as OHIO builds for the future and engages in projects designed to meet the academic, residential and support service needs of the Bobcats of today and tomorrow. 

A significant amount of that transformation has occurred within OHIO’s residential housing and dining facilities, and this past summer marked the beginning of a new project to transform a building that serves as the heart of the campus’ historic East Green.

Construction on an approximately $40 million project to renovate both the dining and residential areas of Jefferson Hall kicked off in May, and members of the Bobcat community will be able to experience just a taste of what’s to come at that building beginning this week.

This artist’s rendering, courtesy of AECOM, shows what Jefferson Hall will look like when an approximately $40 million renovation to the building is completed in August 2017.

This artist’s rendering, courtesy of AECOM, shows what Jefferson Hall will look like when an approximately $40 million renovation to the building is completed in August 2017.

Temporary venue to pave the way for a full-scale marketplace

Ohio University Culinary Services will open a temporary Jefferson Market on Thursday, Aug. 18. The temporary venue will serve students until spring semester when Culinary Services is expected to unveil a new, full-scale Jefferson Marketplace complete with fresh, local and global offerings.

The first significant renovation to this 16,000-square-foot dining facility since it was built in the 1960s, the $8.8 million project will transform the northeast corner of Jefferson Hall – both aesthetically and in the amenities it provides.

This artist’s rendering, provided by AECOM, shows what the new entrance to the Jefferson Marketplace will look like when it opens to students during spring semester.

This artist’s rendering, provided by AECOM, shows what the new entrance to the Jefferson Marketplace will look like when it opens to students during spring semester. The approximately $8.8 million project is being funded entirely on Culinary Services’ operational reserves and comes after significant renovations to all of the unit’s major dining facilities.

While the former Jefferson Dining Hall served as a traditional, all-you-care-to-eat venue, the new Jefferson Marketplace will employ a more modern concept – one that is being built to serve the entire East Green as well as the nearby off-campus community.

Jefferson Marketplace will offer several distinct venues, including:

  • Brick City Deli, a New York-style deli
  • Steeped and Stirred, a tea/coffee room
  • Culinary Studio, a demonstration kitchen to be offered in partnership with the Scripps College of Communication
  • The Ohio Café, featuring Peets Coffee 
  • Juiced, featuring fruits and vegetables juiced fresh
  • The Veggie Butcher, modeled after the one at The District on West Green where customers can select whole fruits or vegetables, which they then take to a counter to be washed, processed to their specifications, weighed and tagged for purchase
  • Expanded grocery options such as bulk food dispensers, a meat and cheese counter, a fresh salad bar, international foods, and an increased focus on local products and vendors

Jefferson Marketplace patrons will be able to access the venue through a new storefront entrance at the northeast corner of the building – the most noticeable change to the building thus far. A new glass façade will funnel natural light into the marketplace, providing a warm, inviting welcome to patrons.

“This entire renovation is designed to engage the northeast corner of campus as well as the off-campus community in that area,” said Gwyn Scott, associate vice president for auxiliaries. “Culinary Services is excited to be a part of building on the rich history of Jefferson Hall, which has and will continue to serve as a vibrant hub of activity on the Athens Campus.”

The temporary Jefferson Market will open at 10 a.m. on Thursday, Aug. 18, and will offer students a selection of packaged meals, snacks, beverages, and toiletries and school supplies.  Access to the market will be available on the south side of Jefferson Hall near Johnson and Read Halls. Signage will be posted, and the venue will be fully accessible.

This graphic, provided by Ohio University Culinary Services, outlines the various ways students may enter the temporary Jefferson Market, which opens at 10 a.m. on Thursday, Aug. 18.

This graphic, provided by Ohio University Culinary Services, outlines the various ways students may enter the temporary Jefferson Market, which opens at 10 a.m. on Thursday, Aug. 18. 

Developing a Jefferson Hall for the 21st century

While the brand new Jefferson Marketplace will open during spring semester, members of the OHIO community will have to wait a little longer to see the renovations occurring within the residential areas of Jefferson Hall. 

Ohio University’s Division of Student Affairs will open a more modern, efficient Jefferson Hall in August 2017 following an approximately $30 million project designed to enhance the residential experience in that building.

Jefferson Hall is pictured on May 12, 2016, just days before a $30 million renovation to the building’s residential areas began.

Jefferson Hall is pictured on May 12, 2016, just days before a $30 million renovation to the building’s residential areas began. The residential component of the renovation is being funded by $4 million in cash reserves from OHIO’s Department of Housing and Residence Life and $26 million in debt. Photo courtesy of the Division of Student Affairs

According to Christine Sheets, assistance vice president for student affairs, the project includes:

  • The installation of new finishes, plumbing, mechanical components, state-of-the-art communication systems, and electrical infrastructure
  • The addition of an elevator that will service all of the building’s floors, providing ADA access throughout the facility
  • A refreshed lower-level parking structure with elevator access and new lighting
  • The construction of academic support spaces on the first floor

Building on a tradition that began in 1958 when Jefferson Hall opened its doors to the 379 female students that served as its first residents, the renovations to Jefferson Hall are designed to retain both the Georgian-style architecture of the building and its traditional residence hall feel. 

Located on the second, third and fourth floors of the building, the individual student rooms will include new furnishings, such as beds and desks, and new built-in cabinetry. Each room will include individual climate control capabilities.

With a goal of elevating OHIO’s living-learning experiences and fostering physical, social and academic connections within the residential environment, the renovation will also include public lounges, a game room, staff offices and meeting spaces throughout the building. 

“Overall, this facility will serve as the cornerstone for the East Green, providing a central place to gather on the green, find quiet study space, or program events,” said Sheets, who noted that the Jefferson Hall project marks the first major renovation to the building, other than a roof replacement in 2013-14, since the facility first opened.

Part of the first floor of Jefferson Hall and the future home of the Jefferson Marketplace is seen on June 9, 2016.

Part of the first floor of Jefferson Hall and the future home of the Jefferson Marketplace is seen on June 9, 2016. The earliest stages of the renovation include abatement and demolition to both the residential and culinary areas of the building. The entire building will reopen to the OHIO community in August 2017. Photo courtesy of the Division of Student Affairs

Corna Kokosing and Elford (CKE) is serving as the construction manager on the Jefferson Hall renovation while AECOM is the engineering and architectural firm overseeing the project. Both firms have worked on large construction projects on the Athens Campus in the past, mostly recently and notably the construction of four new residence halls and the Living Learning Center on South Green.

“These firms have a strong understanding of our desired goals and finished project quality,” said Sheets. “We are confident in their work and team effort on such a large project.”