Oberlin College proposes 16,000-sq.-ft. Philips gymnasium addition


Public record An architectural rendering of Oberlin College’s Jesse Philips Physical Education Center shows a proposed 16,000-square-foot addition.


Public record An architectural rendering of Oberlin College’s Jesse Philips Physical Education Center shows a proposed 16,000-square-foot addition.

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Public record An architectural rendering of Oberlin College’s Jesse Philips Physical Education Center shows a proposed 16,000-square-foot addition.

A 16,000-square-foot addition is being proposed at Oberlin College’s Jesse Philips Physical Education Center.

Architect Steve Varelmann spoke to city planning commission members last Wednesday about ripping down two college-owned homes and installing a parking lot to make way for the huge project.

The college wants to add to the south side of the current building by renovating the pool from a T shape to a square, install a weight room, spinning room, multi-purpose room for yoga, and a 32-space parking lot.

“It’s important for the college to appropriate that into the students’ educational experience,” Varelmann said of the college gym. The college wants to push healthier living for its students.

The pool will remain the same size — 25 yards by 25 yards — but the one change is it will have natural light.

Varelmann said the gym’s north entrance is currently the main entrance but the college wants to change it to the south side with the addition.

The city’s code requires 38 parking spaces but the college is only seeking for 32 spaces.

“The college’s strategic plan is not to increase students,” he said. “The college population is not anticipated to increase currently.”

Planning commission chair Matt Adelman said he really appreciates Varelmann and the college bringing their preliminary site plan to the members to review and have a heads-up before the final plan comes before them.

Varelmann is expected to return to the commission with future plans for the addition. The exact date was not announced at the time of publication.

Valerie Urbanik can be reached at 440-775-1611 or on Twitter @ValUrbanik.

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