Future of OU President's Residence Up In Air

By
Bethany Venable

Dateline
Updated Fri, Sep 14, 2012 12:02 pm

The future of the president's residence at Ohio University is under consideration by the board of trustees after an unnamed donor stepped forward with interest in the property.

According to a release from the university, trustees are exploring possible options for the use of the suggested gift, which include renovating the home or building a new residence for Dr. Roderick McDavis and his wife, Deborah.
 
In response to the offer, McDavis released a statement, saying, "If there is an opportunity to use private resources rather than pull other funds that need to go to our academic facilities to shore up and sustain the President Residence, then I and the Board must explore those opportunities."
 
McDavis also said he and his wife are happy at the home on Park Place.
 
University leaders say it is too soon to discuss how the property would be used should the gift agreement be finalized, or if McDavis would continue to live on the Athens campus.
 
"Nothing has yet been determined; nothing has been gifted. It would be speculative at best to try and determine what would be decided unless or until there is something upon which to make a decision," said Renea Morris, executive director of University Communications and Marketing. 
 
No concrete figure for the gift's proposed amount has been released.
 
According to the university's website, the home was originally built in 1899 and was extensively renovated in the 1920's.  OU bought the property, which includes the house and a caretaker's cottage , in 1951 and President John C. Baker was the first OU president to live there in 1952.
 
The last remodeling job to date was in 1995, when former President Robert Glidden's wife, Rene, spearheaded the effort, including the restoration of a main staircase.  
 
The Athens County Auditor's website lists the property as valued at more than $900,000, with the related cottage valued at more than $86,000.
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