Campus Expansion

07.12.2005 | Campus and CommunityThe University of Dayton this summer finalized the purchase of a 49-acre parcel of property with buildings from NCR Corp. for $25 million. The property runs from Brown Street to the Great Miami River and will be used to expand UD's campus and spur commercial development by the river. The purchase includes land, two buildings, two parking lots and two practice soccer fields.

"This is an unparalleled opportunity for the University of Dayton that will allow us to grow for decades into the future," said Daniel J. Curran, president. "The property secures a border to the University, gives us the opportunity to create a landmark entrance and will drive regional economic development. This represents a major community revitalization effort that has sparked the imagination of campus, community and political leaders."

UD finalized the purchase after a 15-month due diligence period. Part of the property is considered a brownfield, and some remediation will be required, depending upon development plans. Most of NCR's manufacturing facilities on the site were removed in the 1970s, and the property has remained largely unused since then. The University is investing its own funds, borrowing additional money and will eventually recover part of the purchase price through commercial development. NCR also retains $7 million of participation rights in the commercial development of the property.

"Our environmental consultants found no surprises on the site, considering its manufacturing history," Curran said. "We will work collaboratively with city, county and NCR officials under the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency's Voluntary Action Program to return the property to active use. Our collective focus will be on the great academic and commercial development potential the site holds for the University of Dayton and the region."

NCR officials pledged their continued support for the redevelopment of the property. "NCR's objective has been to return this property to a productive use for the community, and we are pleased to make major progress toward that goal with the conclusion of the sale to the University of Dayton," said James M. Ringler, NCR director and interim chief executive officer. "We look forward to continuing our collaboration with UD and other members of our community as a new vision for this property is developed and implemented."

Curran said the eastern part of the property between Brown and Main Streets is expected to be used for academic purposes. UD will work with community leaders to develop the western segment of the property that overlooks the Miami River for commercial/mixed use. University of Dayton officials will seek input from faculty, staff, students, alumni, neighbors and community leaders, create a vision and develop a new campus master plan, last revised in 2000. The purchase expands UD's campus, currently at 216 acres, by nearly a quarter.

Now covered mostly by green space and parking lots, the land is bordered by Stewart Street on the north, Brown Street on the east, Caldwell Street and River Park Drive on the south and South Patterson Boulevard on the west. The parcel includes a six-story, 430,400 square-foot building on Brown Street across from Holy Angels Church that currently houses UD's facilities management operation and the Dayton Early College Academy, a nationally recognized Dayton public high school operated in collaboration with UD. The building, measuring nearly twice as big as Marycrest Hall -- the largest building on campus -- will give UD room to move some administrative operations and allow temporary "swing space" for other offices during campus renovations. The building's parking lot with more than 800 spaces will alleviate a parking crunch on campus and in the surrounding neighborhood and postpone or eliminate the need for an $8.8 million parking garage envisioned in UD's last master plan. The two soccer fields already are being used by UD teams.

A historic marker near a vacant office building on South Patterson Boulevard currently commemorates the achievements of Joseph Desch, a 1929 University of Dayton graduate who headed a top-secret program at NCR to develop a code-breaking machine credited with helping to bring World War II to an end. The interior and exterior of the building were extensively remodeled, initially housing an NCR sales training center, which closed in 2001. UD officials are considering removing the building while working with interested parties and UD alumni to create a fitting memorial to honor Desch and recognize the historical significance of the site.

"The University of Dayton and NCR want to honor for history the extraordinary achievements of Joe Desch and his colleagues," Curran said. "This historical achievement will be honored and celebrated in an appropriate way."

The relationship between UD and NCR dates back to the company's founding in 1884. According to historical accounts, Julia Patterson told her sons, John and Frank, that she would allow them to use the small family fortune to start a cash register business only if Brother Maximin Zehler, S.M., principal of the school that was to eventually become the University of Dayton, would endorse the business proposition. Zehler recognized the potential of the cash register and even arranged to purchase some of the family's land, providing the infant business with needed capital and the school with land for expansion.

Since then, NCR has grown into a leading global technology company listed on the Fortune 500, and UD has emerged as the largest private university in the state and one of the 10 highest-ranked Catholic universities in the nation. Over the years, NCR has provided generous philanthropic support to UD. More than 600 UD graduates currently work for NCR worldwide, and the company employs more than a dozen UD student interns.

Contact Teri Rizvi at (937) 229-3241 or rizvi@udayton.edu.