One of Ottawa Hills' key neighbors, the University of Toledo, recently unveiled the details of its new $275 million Master Plan, which calls for significant changes at the institution's three primary campuses over the next 10 years.
According to school officials, the purpose of the Master Plan is to "support the mission and values of the University, along with creating a more livable and diverse campus."
Two of the most notable features of the Master Plan are the University's intention to vacate the Scott Park campus, and the creation of mixed-use retail and student apartments on Dorr Street near Secor Road.
The project at Dorr and Secor is the second phase of the Gateway project. The 88,500-square-foot first phase opened in September 2012, and includes the University's Barnes and Noble bookstore and a number of stores and restaurants, including Bubble Tea and Social Gastropub.
The second phase will mimic the first, and be a mix of residential and retail use. It will be supplemented by new restaurants and coffee shops, providing a new gathering place and social hub for University students.
Jason Toth, Associate Vice President for Facilities and Construction at UT, believes the project at Dorr and Secor will create a more livable campus for students.
"The University has instituted a two-year live-on requirement for incoming students that will go into effect this fall. This will increase the number of students living on campus, and the Master Plan contains initiatives to provide gathering locations, food venues, athletic and recreation spaces, etc. for these students and all who visit our campuses."
Not only will the new construction on Dorr benefit the students, but it will also provide new eating and shopping opportunities for the general public, including Village residents.
Pete Shawaker, Senior Vice President of the Reichle Klein Group, said the Dorr and Secor project will serve the community.
"UT has been committed for many years to enhancing their southern end of their main campus. The projects at Dorr and Secor have proven to be a valuable recruiting and retention amenity for the student body," Shawaker said. "More over, the neighborhoods, such as Ottawa Hills and Old Orchard, around UT's Main Campus, have benefited by having additional service providers."
Shawaker also believes relocating the athletic fields and 100 employees located on the Scott Park campus is a sensible decision for the University.
"In my opinion, UT's recent decision to close their Scott Park Campus is a wise financial move. UT will not only save operating expense, reap some sale amount, but also consolidate and further focus on the south end of their Main Campus. I envision that UT will still have a substantial 'park like' campus, but combined with greater density. Greater density will enhance the vibrancy and focus," Shawaker said.
The Master Plan also calls for changes to the UT Medical Center in south Toledo.
"UTMC leaders are working to continue to strengthen and grow the clinical services delivered to residents of NW Ohio," Toth said. "Our College of Medicine, through the affiliation with Promedica Health Systems, will continue to educate the medical professionals of tomorrow. The clinical landscape continues to change nationwide and our leadership works tirelessly to align the services we provide with the needs of the region."