SOURCE: Otterbein Homes

Otterbein Homes

February 17, 2010 10:30 ET

Otterbein Board Votes to Move Forward With New Life Enrichment Center & Deconstruction of Bethany Hall

LEBANON, OH--(Marketwire - February 17, 2010) -  The Otterbein Homes board of trustees has voted to move forward with development of a life enrichment center to be centrally located on its Lebanon, Ohio, campus; and with plans to deconstruct the 166-year-old Bethany Hall in order to proceed with the development plan, Otterbein Homes President and CEO Jill C. Hreben announced today.

"The decision to deconstruct Bethany Hall was very difficult, however input from an overwhelming majority of Otterbein Lebanon residents indicated that they prefer the life enrichment center be centrally located on the campus, adjacent and connected to current key buildings, making it easily accessible," Hreben said. "This plan continues our mission of enhancing the quality of life and holistic growth of older persons." That said, the resident-supported plan to locate the new life enrichment center on land currently occupied by Bethany Hall was but one of a series of reasons for the deconstruction. Throughout the evaluation process, Otterbein has investigated a wide variety of alternative uses for Bethany Hall, and none have proven to be functionally or economically viable.

"This plan has great resident support," said Hreben. "Otterbein Lebanon residents are anxious for the life enrichment center. The benefits are numerous and it will improve quality of life for Otterbein residents and the community."

Resident Advisory Group member Charles Peckham noted, "Residents are anxious for the new life enrichment center. And, we no longer wish to continue to support the increasing maintenance costs for a building that cannot be used constructively."

The Otterbein Lebanon Life Enrichment Center
The life enrichment center will include a warm-water swimming and rehabilitation pool, locker rooms, fitness equipment, indoor walking areas, comfortable sitting and study areas, a catering kitchen and other features. The Countryside YMCA of Lebanon will provide fitness, educational, arts-related and other programs at the center.

Bethany Hall
Built in 1844, Bethany Hall was originally a meeting place and residence for members of the Shaker religious sect. Otterbein purchased the property nearly 100 years ago and has used it for various purposes over the years. During those years, Bethany Hall has undergone a number of renovations, transforming much of the internal aspects of the building from its original historical roots.

During the past several years, numerous structural and engineering studies concluded that significant internal and external work would be required for the safe and functional use of Bethany Hall in the future. The board had tabled the project for nearly two years, while it conducted additional research to explore a variety of options for Bethany Hall -- none proved to be economically or functionally viable.

"Otterbein will work diligently with the deconstruction team to protect and preserve items of historical significance found at the Bethany Hall site. Key historical artifacts will be carefully removed for archival purposes and further study," Hreben said. "Some bricks, cornerstones and other historically-significant items will be repurposed or showcased in the new development."

Deconstruction will start in the spring, followed immediately by an extensive landscaping program including features to beautify the site. Concurrent with the deconstruction and new landscaping program, Otterbein will officially launch a multi-million dollar capital campaign to fund the center. Preliminary site designs are under development (see rendering). Already, nearly 20% of the required funding is committed for the life enrichment center project.

About Otterbein Retirement Living Communities
Founded in 1912, Otterbein Retirement Living Communities is a health and human service ministry, serving more than 1,700 people, and is related to the East Ohio and West Ohio Conferences of The United Methodist Church. Otterbein's five retirement communities in western and northern Ohio are located in Lebanon, St. Marys, Cridersville, Pemberville and on the Marblehead Peninsula on Lake Erie. Avalon by Otterbein small house neighborhoods, offering exceptional skilled nursing care and rehabilitation, are located in Perrysburg and Monclova in northwest Ohio, and Middletown and Springboro in Warren County. Avalon Maineville, in Hamilton Township, is under construction.

Additional information regarding Otterbein Retirement Living Communities and the Avalon by Otterbein small house neighborhoods is available at or by calling 513-933-5400.


Contact Information

  • Contact:
    Gary Horning
    Otterbein Retirement Living Communities
    Office: 513-933-5448
    Cell: 513-659-0061
    Email Contact

    Media Contact:
    Pamela Gilchrist
    Office: 895-431-9090
    Cell: 513-233-9090
    Email Contact