Scripps Hall

About five years ago, Dr. Bob Stewart, director of the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, was told by Ohio University administrators at a meeting the plan was to move the journalism school out of Scripps Hall.

“Over my dead body,” Stewart said. “I threw a hissy fit in front of everybody, so I did not go peacefully into the night.”

The plan was to build the new College of Communication building where Baker Center is, but Baker was decided on first.

If the communication building was built there, the journalism school would have stayed in Scripps, where it has been since 1986.

Instead, the Schoonover Center for Communication is being built right next to the radio-television building, so the journalism school had to move to be closer to all the other departments.

Journalism faculty will move in next year and the Visual Communications College and College of Communication will move in the following year.

“I have mixed feelings about the change,” journalism professor Hans Meyer said. “I understand the logic of bringing everybody together and I think that could really lead to some good collaborative classes for students and some collaborative research.”

The change also affects students because the building will be able to be used by all departments, not just journalism.

“I understand why they are changing, but honestly I think they should have stayed just because they have been in this building for so many years and made many upgrades,” senior journalism student Matt Digby said. “Why fix something that’s not broken?”

With the change inevitable, Stewart decided to have an event where students could say goodbye to Scripps Hall.

Stewart called on Scripps Impressions Account Executive and sophomore journalism student Billy Hartman to plan the event.

“Dr. Stewart described it as a wake to Scripps Hall so we kind of went off that and came up with a farewell to Scripps Hall,” Hartman said.

The event was held on April 26, the week before the end of the school year, and was open to all students who wished to come celebrate.

At the event, Stewart’s son Ben’s band Hunnabee and the Sandy Tar Boys played live. There was free food delivered from Brenen’s café, as well as a slideshow made for graduating seniors and a picture of Scripps that was to be signed by all the students and will be hung in Schoonover when the building is finished being built.

Toward the end, Stewart played a few songs on his guitar for the students before the event wrapped up.

“This was a way to say goodbye together, give it a good, proper send-off, give it a good hug and then let’s move on,” Stewart said.

Phase two of Schoonover will not be completed until the fall of 2014, which is when classes will begin there and all the departments will move in.

Despite the initial anger, Stewart now understands the need to change.

“Over time, I’ve definitely seen the value of moving in because I’ve realized there’s a lot of really good stuff going on in the college and the more our students work with students across the colleges the better it’s going to be, I definitely get that,” Stewart said.

The Story Of The Ping Center

 

 

Dr. Charles Ping walks with a cane, slow and deliberate; making sure every step he makes is a good one.

 

The former Ohio University President, current President Emeritus and philosophy professor is now 82 with health problems that have firmly taken hold of his body.

 

Bilateral knee implants, back surgery, shoulder surgery and drop foot in his right leg are just some of the problems Ping has encountered, yet he pushes on.

 

The one place he helped create and bears his name is the place keeping him able to walk today, the Charles J. Ping Recreation Center.

 

“To get my rehab started I had to walk from end of (Ping) to the other end on the second floor using a walker, then gradually I used a cane, and that turned into exercise bikes,” Ping said.

 

The building was opened in January 1996, a year and a half after Ping retired as president.

 

The building has three floors, measuring 168,000 square feet.

 

It holds five basketball courts, a 36-foot rock climbing wall, an elevated indoor track, eight racquetball courts, exercise rooms and two multipurpose gymnasiums.

 

“I visited a half-dozen (recreational) facilities and a committee visited more and among those facilities I think the design was just wonderful,” Ping said.

 

The Ping Center has had no major renovations done to the facility itself, but has had many equipment overhauls because of the changing technology.

 

“When I first got here (in 1998) we had a Stairmaster, cheap treadmills and a cheap bike, that’s it, but now we have a variety of ellipticals and the treadmills haven’t had waiting lines in years,” Ping Director Hafedh Benhadj said.

 

Before the facility was built, all recreational activities at Ohio University were located in Grover Center.

 

Ping said this space was cramped and a new recreational building was needed for students.

 

“There was student interest in a facility built for recreational purposes. Bowling Green had built one and the students were saying ‘We need one’. Well the state will not fund any buildings not used for academic purposes and this was, as the students wanted it, not to be a building used for academic purposes,” Ping said.

 

The state would not pay for the building, so the money had to be assessed to the students’ general fee.

 

“We made sure the students understood they were committing future generations of students to pay off the debt. After they examined it, they did agree to build it under three certain conditions,” Ping said.

 

In order for student senate to approve Ping, the building’s fee could not be assessed until it was ready for use.

 

Also, no intercollegiate athletics could use the facility and no academic classes would be allowed at Ping.

 

The student senate also recommended to the Board of Trustees that the building be named after Ping.

 

The students are still paying off the bonds used to fund the construction, as well as the operation and maintenance of the building.

 

According to a recent “Post” article, current students pay nearly $400,000 a year for Ping, or $19.34 per student.

 

Benhadj said that many students would like to renovate the building because they think it’s old, but they don’t realize they would be paying for it.

 

“The average student has no real sense of how much things cost,” Benhadj said.

 

He said a 1,200 square feet space on the second floor would have cost close to $500,000 to renovate in 2007.

 

“Some students say ‘do this or do that.’ OK, where’s the money? I’d be more than happy to buy you whatever you want, if you have the money,” Benhadj said.

 

He said one treadmill can cost as much as $10,000 and any major renovation to the building isn’t possible.

 

“It would cost a lot of money to make major renovations, we’re talking millions, not thousands,” Benhadj said.

 

Benhadj said despite students complaints about upgrades; he estimates that 80 percent of students currently use the facility.

 

“I’m a runner so I like the option that you can go on a plethora of treadmills, I also like the indoor track and I love that there are two different weight rooms,” Thomas Liauba, a sophomore student who attends Ping three to four times a week, said.

 

Sophomore Luke Kuhner, who is certified as a personal trainer at Ping, said working out is a big part of his routine and he loves how he never has to wait for any equipment.

 

“With two weight rooms and so many other things at Ping, I love not having to worry about not getting my workout in on time,” Kuhner said.

 

Ohio University is planning on opening a new multipurpose facility in the fall which will give the university’s athletic teams an indoor practice facility.

 

“I think (the multipurpose center) will relieve some space for some of our intramural sports in the winter time, especially outdoor sports,” Benhadj said.

 

He said it will not take away from Ping because it is not another recreational facility, it will only be used for the university sports teams and some intramural sports.

 

In the future, he said it will be up to the administration to decide when Ping gets an upgrade, but he doesn’t see it as high on the priority list.

 

“Ping Center, as old as it is, is only 17 years old and compared with some buildings that are 50 or 60 years old, is not very high on the priority list,” Benhadj said.

 

The building can be used by all students, faculty and alumni, including Ping himself.

 

He likes to tell a story about when Ping was chosen to be named after him; the graduate student president protested it because he wanted an academic building named after Ping instead.

 

“I was flattered, but I also knew it was just a nuisance and so I called him in and told him to back off because I was pleased it was a student recreational facility and I would probably use it about as much as anyone,” Ping said.

 

He is still rehabbing constantly despite his age and refuses to give up.

 

“(Rehab’s) not something I can complete, it’s something I will do the rest of my life,” Ping said.

 

He wanted to give students something they would be able to use before he retired.

 

It turns out he needs it more than it needs him.

Image

 

An empty basketball court during an early weekday morning at Ohio University.Image

 

A Ping racquetball court that cannot be used at this time.Image

This is a look at the weight room on the first floor of Ping.Image

A view of the top of the 36-foot rock wall that Ping provides.Image

The outside of the Ping Center from across the street.

 

Ohio University was offering a new sport this year during its second spring session sign-ups.

            Sign-ups for this spring session, held from March 11-13, included sports such as dodgeball, flag football, 11 vs. 11 soccer and badminton. The new sport joining the ranks is kickball.

            This session’s sign-ups were considered a success with each sport getting at least 12 teams to sign up, including nearly 40 teams for soccer.

            “The (sign-ups) have gone pretty well, we had a pretty good turnout for flag football and 11 on 11 soccer,” Theresa Ianni, the Student Director for Registration and Public Relations, said.

            Ianni also said it took time for students to realize kickball was offered, while dodgeball and badminton also had good turnouts.

            Badminton had 12 total teams sign up, 39 for soccer, 38 for flag football, 25 for dodgeball and 21 for kickball.

            The signups and intramural program are run by the staff at the Charles J. Ping Recreation Center. The sign-ups are held over three days because so many people sign up that if it was all in one day it would take too long.

            “The first day you come into work and see everyone lining up against the wall and it’s kind of like, ‘uh wow’,” Devon Pine, Program Assistant and Incoming Director of Special Events, said. “But then once you sit down and take everyone one at a time it is definitely less intimidating and the line goes really fast.”

            On March 11 and 12, soccer, flag football and badminton teams were allowed to sign up. On March 12 and 13, kickball and dodgeball sign-ups were offered.

            All sports are offered with different types of games. Teams can be considered recreational or competitive. Competitive teams have a single-elimination playoff at the end of the year, play three season games instead of the five that are played in recreational league, and have a deposit that is not returned.

Also, men’s and women’s only teams are offered as well as co-ed teams.

            Kickball offers a new experience students can enjoy, whether they have played an intramural sport before or not.

            “I’ve never done an intramural sport and it’s my fifth year of college so I wanted to do one before I graduated,” fifth-year senior Brittany Buynack said. “I live with two guys and one other girl so we wanted to do a co-ed team and we thought kickball would be really fun thing to do. It doesn’t take too much focus or too much skill, but it would be a lot of fun.”

            Sign-ups are held at Ping from 6-9 pm with multiple tables set up to accommodate all the students.

            Ping employees described the lines as wrapping around both walls toward the entrance every season because of the mass popularity of intramural sports at Ohio University.

            Because of the popularity, some sports fill up, such as flag football and basketball in the winter, which results in students not being able to get into a sport that they really wanted.

            “You have some people that get really disappointed that they didn’t get their spot and show anger because they waited in line so long and couldn’t get their spot,” Adrienne Gossett, a Program Assistant, said.

            Once teams get signed up, captain meetings are held in the following few days. Captain meetings allow one member of each team to show up and get explained the rules of their game as well as what to expect for the upcoming season.

            Captain’s meetings were held from March 13-19 for all the different sports.

            Depending on the type of sport, a team fee is also due at sign-ups. For competitive teams, a fee of either $30 or $50 is due depending on the size of the team.

            Recreational teams owe a $30 or $50 fee as well, but it is only a deposit. The deposit is returned to those teams at the end of the season while the competitive team fee is not returned.

            The program’s rules do not explicitly state why the competitive team fee is not refunded while the recreational deposit is refunded.

            Another rule is that any student currently on an Ohio University varsity sport cannot participate in an intramural sport that is the same sport they play or considered similar to it.

            Ping staffers are allowed to participate in the sports as well if they so choose.

            The season’s games started on March 18 and will continue through April 18 for all sports in the second spring session.