Shively Hall on OU's East Green. Photo by Conor Morris.

Ohio University confirmed Monday that it’s closing Shively Hall’s dining facilities, though that’s not because of the coronavirus pandemic.

OU spokesperson Carly Leatherwood said Monday that due to the fall 2020-2021 enrollment forecast, OU made the decision earlier this year to close Shively’s dining hall (but not the residential portion of that hall on the East Green).

“However, the university will continue to reassess need moving forward,” Leatherwood said of the dining facility.

Leatherwood said in a follow-up email that “this is not a permanent decision,” noting that the university’s dining-hall needs are re-evaluated on a semester-to-semester basis.

She added that the decision was made to take Shively and its Grab n’ Go dining facilities “off-line” in part because of its close proximity to Nelson Commons on South Green, and said that decision will save the university $1 million. 

This comes as OU in the summer of 2018 completed a $1.8 million renovation of Shively Hall’s dining facilities to improve the “aesthetics and functionality” of that space, The NEWS has previously reported, along with another renovation of that dining area in fall 2009. The NEWS reported in 2008 that the OU Board of Trustees had approved more than $13 million for renovations of Shively Hall’s residential and dining areas (it’s not clear how much was spent on the dining hall portion).

“We had no way to forecast the decline in enrollment that is projected for the fall 2020 when we made investments in Shively Court and Grab n’ Go,” Leatherwood added.

Leatherwood said that all current staff at Shively Hall, including student workers who “choose to return in the fall” will be reassigned to other culinary venues.

Shively Hall was built in 1956.

In the 1970s, due to a severe enrollment drop (down to near 13,000 students on the Athens campus), Shively also was closed for several years, which included both its dining and residential uses.

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