Donors who wish to remain anonymous have given Ohio Wesleyan University $8 million dollars to restore a building that has been closed for more than a quarter of a century.
OWU President Rock Jones on June 26, announced an alumni couple made the gift to restore Merrick Hall. The building, built in 1873 and dedicated to the study of science, was one of the first college buildings in the United States built for a single purpose.
The restored building, expected to reopen in 2015, will house elements of the OWU Connection curricular initiative as well as classrooms and event space. The third floor, said Jones, according to a news release issued soon after the public announcement, will become "the most elegant space on campus," with a soaring ceiling, gothic arches and large windows overlooking the academic campus. That floor will include a board room for faculty meetings and an entertainment venue for receptions, celebrations, lectures, readings and other formal and informal occasions.
The addition of a south-side patio will be part of Merrick Hall's exterior renovations. According to the news release, the patio will serve as the backdrop for OWU's annual commencement and other activities, including the annual Fourth of July concert by the Central Ohio Symphony.
The hall is named for Frederick Merrick, OWU's second president, who served from 1860 to 1873. The building is composed of Delaware blue limestone and one of 11 campus locations listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
For more about Merrick Hall, visit merrick.owu.edu.