March 11, 2016
SSU announced plans today to invest in downtown Portsmouth.
Shawnee State University announced plans today to invest in downtown Portsmouth by creating an opening in the Chillicothe Street corridor and locating new and existing services in buildings on the east side of the 300 block of the street.
“We want to strengthen our ties to the community, and to help spur revitalization in the downtown area, by increasing foot traffic between campus and Chillicothe Street,” SSU President Rick Kurtz, said. “Our hope is that our presence downtown, along with a stronger visual connection and pathway for students to walk to and from Chillicothe Street, will pave the way for future development in this area.”
Over the past several years, the SSU Development Foundation has acquired buildings in the 300 block of Chillicothe Street, through gifts and purchases of property. The university’s plans include renovation of three of its properties (314, 310, and 308 Chillicothe Street) to locate several existing university offices, including its Development Office, the SSU Development Foundation, Alumni & Community Relations, and Career Services. The university is also developing plans and has secured partial funding to create an Innovation Accelerator that would be located in this renovated space. The Innovation Accelerator would provide space and resources for students, faculty, and regional businesses to collaborate on projects, business ventures, and educational opportunities.
“Our goal with the Innovation Accelerator is to promote entrepreneurship and innovation,” Eric Braun, SSU Assistant to the President for External Affairs and Executive Director for Development, said. “This is the exact type of campus-community partnership that we want to see in the downtown area.”
In addition to the three renovated buildings, the plan calls for the corner property that the SSU Development Foundation owns on Chillicothe and 3rd Street to be developed into a streetscape-designed corridor between campus and downtown. Shawnee State plans the first phase of the project to be completed fall 2016.