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Encyclopedia of Baldwin Wallace University History: Campus Locations - D

An Index of Historical Content and Their Sources

Davdison Commons

Citation: Gruber, Emily. “Newly Renovated Davidson Commons Opens.” The Exponent, October 7, 2013.

Baldwin Wallace University recently reopened the newly renovated First Year Area, the Davidson Commons.

The renovations made to the residence halls 63 Beech Street and Klein Hall were finished late this summer, just in time for the start of school, while Saylor Hall is still being renovated.

The first year complex, once completed, will about 180 students in four and six person suites, which share bathrooms and a small common area. 63 Beech contains an enclosed study room, a centralized mailroom (for both 63 Beech and Klein residents), a laundry room, one kitchen, and a large, glassed-in pavilion where many first year residents hang out. There is also an indoor bike storage area in this building.

Klein also has an enclosed study room, a laundry room, a main lounge with a kitchen and two additional small kitchens located on the 2nd and 3rd floors repectively [sic]. The buildings each have an elevator, are handicap accessible, and have geothermal heating and cooling systems, similar to the one found in Ernsthausen Hall.

“Right now living in this residence hall is great,” freshman Cody Mastnardo said. “My favorite part of the building is probably the pavilion because everyone can just hang out there. I’ve been in a couple of the other dorms on campus and I’m so happy I ended up here.”

Alicia Monday, Hall Director of 63 Beech, Klein Hall, and 21 Beech (the Honors residence hall further down Beech Street), believes Saylor Hall will be another building that will house first-year and transfer students, and it is expected to be reopened sometime in January 2014.

The layout of Saylor Hall is expected to look identical to the layout of Klein Hall.

“The first year students are extremely lucky to be living in an environment like that,” junior Sarah Reichert said. “I lived in Saylor my freshman year and it would have been convenient to have such a nice area to study back then.”

Although upperclassmen students like Reichert have had different reactions about the renovations to 63 Beech and Klein Hall, Monday does not believe any division will be created between students living in the different residence halls.

“I don’t think it makes a major difference,” Monday said. “Really, you like buildings for different aspects, such as meeting new people; it’s not just the room.”

As of right now, Saylor Hall, Klein Hall and 63 Beech Street are the only first-year residence halls to be renovated in the past few years. North Hall, also designated as a first year area, underwent renovations about three years ago to receive new lighting, have the built-in furniture and carpet replaced, and be repainted.

The $11.2 million renovations on the Davidson Commons were made possible by funding from the Ohio Historic Preservation program that was available to Baldwin Wallace University. The rest of the funding for this project came from private gifts and bonds.

“I think these new renovations set the standard of where the campus can go,” Monday said. “There’s this expectation that this is where we’re standing. Now where can we go from here?”

Citation: "More "suite" life for BW... Davidson Commons to be dedicated May 2,", News & Events, 1 April 2014.

Davidson Commons, with Davidson Hall in the foreground and Saylor Hall in the background. Source: "Housing," Click on image to enlarge.

A major renovation and expansion to 63 Beech, Klein and Saylor halls, Davidson Commons is fostering vibrant suite-style residence hall living. Baldwin Wallace will formally dedicate the three-building complex May 2 to honor the leadership support for BW by James '58 and Jane Evans '60 Davidson of Malvern, Pa.

Davidson Commons, which served as first-year housing for decades, is composed of Klein, Saylor and Davidson (once referred to as 63 Beech) halls. The three buildings underwent construction in two phases over 18 months to create 54,688-square feet of new and renovated space that now features suite-style living for 177 students.

"We are grateful to Jim and Jane for supporting their alma mater in many ways through the years and in particular for their leadership with this important campus master plan project," said Baldwin Wallace President Robert Helmer. "Davidson Commons provides exceptional facilities that will benefit students today and well into the future."

"Inspiring, Welcoming" Community

Upon renovation, Klein and Beech halls re-opened in August 2013 and Saylor Hall went back online in January. This year it housed freshmen.

"It has been an inspiring and welcoming experience," said resident assistant R.J. Marshall '16. "The residents of Davidson have shown me how a community can come together so fast.

"One time I was doing late night laundry and overheard one of my residents listening to music. We had a talk about life and whatnot, which eventually led to us talking about our families and how you become so much closer once you enter college."

Like many first-year students, Josh Low has found the community aspect of BW and Davidson Commons to be beneficial. "I have developed relationships with a diverse group of people – athletes like myself as well as Conservatory of Music students. We don't know what we will do without each other next year."

Ideal Location for Food, Fun, Fellowship

"The location of Davidson Commons is ideal. It's adjacent to the Student Activity Center as well as Strosacker Hall to the east and Marting Hall and Lindsay-Crossman Chapel to the west. Residents can attend events easily and have convenient access to food and other campus resources," noted resident assistant Sydney Palermo '15.

"Community is a vital element for today's students," noted Trina Dobberstein, vice president for student affairs and dean of students. "They want housing that integrates living with learning and is accented with areas where they can gather with friends to relax, study, cook a meal together or host family and friends to campus.

"The residents of Davidson Commons like the convenience of having bathrooms and common areas alongside their bedrooms. A real favorite is the spacious gathering area with comfortable seating, a 70-inch-screen TV and an adjacent kitchen. But even little things, like the indoor bike storage area and sustainability-focused reverse osmosis water fountains, are enhancing their campus experience."

Dietsch Hall


Dietsch Hall, photographed November 21, 2006. Source: BW CD Collection, Buildings, #926,11-21-2006. Click on image to enlarge.

Citation: Updated B-W History, n.d.

Dietsch Hall was built in 1899 on the campus of German Wallace College. It is a Romanesque-style, three-story structure, including a basement, and was built with Berea sandstone. Besides containing numerous suits and single rooms for women, it contained double parlors, rooms for the Dean of Women, and laundry facilities in the basement.

Dietsch Hall was named in honor of Michael and Lydia Ann Dietsch of Logan Township, near Spencerville, Ohio. Michael Dietsch, a prosperous farmer who was a pillar in the local German Methodist Church, sold a portion of their property to fund the facility. In the winter of 1897, Dr. Marting, who had been a guest of the Dietsch's and while he was helping with farm chores before church on a Sunday morning, mentioned 8 German Wallace's urgent need for a women's dormitory. Michael Dietsch and Dr. Marting both got down on their hands and knees and prayed on the cold barn floor. When finished praying, Michael said he felt the Lord wanted to him to give his farm in Marion County, Ohio for this purpose.

For many years, the hall served as a women's dormitory. It was said to have been well furnished and equipped with all modern convinces. Room prices, depending on the size and location, ranged from 75 cents to $1.50 per week and included light, heat, and water. An additional $1.50 per week covered the use of an electric iron. The hall was later occupied by theology students before being unused for five years. In 1935, it was remodeled, at an approximate cost of $3,000, and became Baldwin-Wallace's Administration building. In addition to the many offices located in the building, the bookstore and switchboard. It was remodeled again in 1950, and remained as the administration building until 1970 when Bonds Administration Building was completed. While Dietsch Hall was used for administrative purposes, records were played from the Registrar's office and the music was heard from the tower of Marting Hall in the time between classes. During the 1970's, Dietsch Hall served to house the departments of History and Religion. In November of 1975, Lyceum Square and German Wallace College, of which Dietsch Hall is a part, had been entered on the National Register of Historic Places.

On the night of January 11, 1978, an aged water main over the third floor froze, burst, and flooded the building. Offices were moved to other buildings and the building was closed due to the extensive damage. The hall stood empty until increasing enrollment at B-W necessitated the renovation of Dietsch Hall and the Lindsay-Crossman Chapel in 1990. The renovation was important, as the Lyceum Square area, composing Marting Hall, the Chapel, and Dietsch, has historically been a hub of academic, cultural, and religious life. The name for Lyceum Square comes from Lyceum Village, a socialist/educational community that had flourished on that site from 1836-1842. The $2.5 million renovation of Dietsch Hall and the Chapel was an eighteen month project completed in 1991. The hall was rededicated on June 1, 1991.

After the renovation, Dietsch Hall housed the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, the Office of International Studies, and the Learning Center. New classrooms, seminar rooms, a language lab, and computer facilities were included in the renovation plan. An elevator was installed and all electric and mechanical systems were replaced. With the renaissance of Marting Hall in 1989, and Dietsch Hall and Lindsay Crossman Chapel in 1991, the humanities were returned to a central location on south campus, for the first time in more than a decade.

Dietsch Hall, c.1910. Photo Boxes, Buildings, Box 1, File BW.01.15.1. Click on image to enlarge.

Citation: “Dietsch Remodeled As New Dean Comes,” Baldwin-Wallace College News Letter 16, no. 1 (1950): p. 1.

Preparations for Baldwin-Wallace College's new Dean are well under way, with a widespread remodeling program in Dietsch Hall administration offices preceding the arrival of Dr. Frank G. Lankard.

The Dean is expected to assume his new post the first of February, coming to Berea from Brothers College of Drew University, where he has been Dean for 15 years.

Head-to-toe changes are being made in 51-year-old Dietsch Hall, which originally was a coed dormitory. Dean Lankard, his assistant and the deans of men and women all will occupy the second floor, which also contains the President's offices.

Moving to the first floor will be the admissions director. The registrar and some of the business offices will remain on the first floor level, with the accounting department and assistant treasurer going to the ground floor.

Also moving down one flight will be the central telephone switchboard, campus mail boxes and mimeographing equipment. Offices of the superintendent of buildings and grounds remain downstairs.

Top floor of Dietsch will continue to house the alumni records, to be joined by the placement office, public relations headquarters, financial promotion offices and a general conference room.

Remodeling of Dietsch began this month and is expected to continue for several weeks.

Citation: Mills, Jeffrey, and Bette L. Versaci. “Campus history: 1845-1900.” The Exponent, May 7, 1971, p. 4-6.

German Wallace's Dietsch Ladies' Hall, built in 1899, opened in 1900. It was "fitted out with electric lights, hot water, heat, water closets, etc." Rent ranged from $6.00 to $15.00 per term. In 1935, the building was remodeled and served as the Administration building until the New Administration Building was added to the campus in 1970.

Citation: Kovach, Tim, and Adam A Bowers. “The Haunted History of Baldwin-Wallace.” The Exponent, October 28, 2008, p. 1.

Dietsch Hall – Currently the foreign languages building, Dietsch Hall was once an all-female dormitory known by many as “Dietsch Castle” or the “Doll House.” Students and faculty members have noted that they have often heard several loud hissing noises throughout the building. While some claim they are merely the old Victorian style pipes making noise or the building settling, other professors call these noises “the Dietsch Ghost.


Durst Welcome Center

Citation: "Work begins on Welcome Center honoring Dick and Karen Durst,", News & Events, 1 August 2011

The Durst Welcome Center. Source: "President's Day Preview (Seniors Only),", Undergraduate Admission, 18 February 2019. Click on image to enlarge.

Work is underway on a $3 million building that will centralize activity for visiting, prospective students at Baldwin Wallace University.

The 11,000-square-foot Richard and Karen Durst Welcome Center is expected to open in the heart of the campus in August of 2012.

The construction along East Grand Street near Tressel Street kicked off this month with drilling to create a geothermal well field. The Welcome Center is the eighth BW building on campus to utilize the sustainable technology that draws on constant temperatures deep underground for efficient, lower cost heating and cooling.

Susan Dileno, BW's vice president of enrollment management, said the building itself also will incorporate the mission, values and history of the institution. "Our goal is to create a welcoming environment for campus visitors in a prime location that provides easy access to BW facilities and allows prospective families to experience the surrounding student life activity," she said.

Current enrollment operations are based in the Bonds Administration Building at the southeastern edge of the campus. "This new Welcome Center will serve as a gateway to connect students, families and others with the incredible resources that BW has to offer,"  Dileno said.

The Georgian-style building, part of BW's 10-year Master Plan guiding campus development, was funded through donations given by individual members of the College Board of Trustees. The donors designated their gifts to fund construction of the Welcome Center and to name it in honor of retiring College President Dick Durst and his wife Karen. Durst is stepping down at the end of the 2011-2012 academic year after six years at the helm.