LIMA — On Thursday, OSU-Lima unveiled the rendering of its new student life center, the Perry Webb Student Life Building.
Perry Webb was passionate about Lima as well as higher education. He was instrumental in 1965 in raising nearly a half million dollars to bring Ohio State University to Lima. Officials will break ground on the Perry Webb Student Life Building this spring.
This $5.2 million, 15,000-square-foot building will feature a fitness center, food services, an information commons, collaborative work space and several multipurpose lounge spaces.
The project has become near and dear to Ohio State University at Lima Dean Charlene Gilbert’s heart.
“During the time that I have worked on this project over the past two years, it has become clear to me that the student life building is much more than brick and mortar. This building will be a home away from home for the 90 percent of our students on campus that are commuter students. It will be a landing spot for our students that now come from 46 of Ohio’s 88 counties. It will be a place to work collaboratively on projects for students who are preparing to be future engineers, future doctors, future teachers, future social workers. It will be a place that will support the overall academic success and culture and social success of our students with a welcoming and state-of-the-art learning environment, where we believe students will be attached to this campus in deep and profound ways and will support the retention and ultimate success beyond these walls,” Gilbert said. “We are committed to providing the state-of-the-art experiences that you would expect when you come to the No. 1 public university in the state. We are just so pleased that we are going to be able to provide that for our students.”
Giving back to the community was a part of Perry Webb’s life, and his commitment to higher education has carried on in his children, Larry R. Webb, who served as co-chair of the building project with Karen Grothaus and his daughter, Mary Ellen Webb Marik.
“We were taught to give back. It was something we learned at an early age,” Marik said. “My father would feel very humbled to have this building named after him, as we do, but he would have never expected it.”
“We’ve been Buckeyes all our life and when Charlene asked us if we’d like to participate in this opportunity naming this building in honor of our father, we said yes,” Larry Webb said.
Gilbert feels that the addition of the student life center will attract more students to come to OSU-Lima, and in turn, stay in Lima.
“One of the things we’re committed to is we believe the more students that come to our campus the more students are likely to stay in the region. And we want to help continue to bring talent to our region and maintain it,” Gilbert said.
The groundbreaking is anticipated to occur in May, with Ruscilli Construction of Columbus sending out bid packages. The new facility has an anticipated opening in fall 2018.
“Just as Perry Webb was central to the establishment of this campus in 1965, the Perry Webb Student Life Building will be central to the Ohio State Lima student experience for generations to come. I am pleased that long after we are all gone, the testament to the legacy of Perry Webb will remain,” Gilbert said. “A living representation of our school motto, education for citizenship, because Perry Webb and the Webb family members are committed citizens who are exemplary of what we hope for all of our students, a passion for education, and a commitment to service to others.”