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UD president says Arcade to get students out of ‘UD bubble’

Construction on the Dayton Arcade redevelopment project by Cross Street Partners, The Model Group & McCormack Baron Salazar. TOM GILLIAM / CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER
Construction on the Dayton Arcade redevelopment project by Cross Street Partners, The Model Group & McCormack Baron Salazar. TOM GILLIAM / CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER

University of Dayton President Eric Spina said the Dayton Arcade will serve to get students out of the “UD bubble.”

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“We are going to have hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of students a year down at the Arcade,” Spina said. “Some of them are going to have ideas for businesses. Most of them are going to want to contribute to help other people and learn from others. And when you magnify that by the fact that this is going to be a place where UD might have a sign here and there, but this is not branded UD space. This is branded Dayton space. … If it was just UD, it might as well be on campus.”

Spina made the comments at the annual Downtown Dayton Update and Special Improvement District meeting on Wednesday at Liberty Tower. Spina was among almost a dozen community leaders that spoke to a crowd of small business owners, community stakeholders and Downtown Dayton enthusiasts about the state of Dayton’s core.

A venture announced in 2017 between UD and the Entrepreneurs Center make up the Arcade Innovation Hub LLC, the Arcade’s anchor tenant. The Hub is UD’s largest investment in downtown in university history.

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The hub will take up 76,135 square feet of space in the Rotunda building, the McCrory building and part of the Kuhns building. The hub will contain academic space for entrepreneurship and school programs and institutes and a co-working space.

“We shared all kinds of great progress that’s happening downtown,” said Sandy Gudorf, the Downtown Dayton Partnership president. “Since 2010, more than $1.8 billion have been invested in downtown. We covered all kinds of subjects but specifically we talked about the Arcade. Dr. Spina talked about his vision of what will happen at the Arcade, the collective gathering of students, entrepreneurs, engineers, creative people and artists and the environment that will create to enhance and improve the ecosystem of how we create jobs and grow businesses. And we also talked about that helping keeping talent in our community which is very important.”

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Sandy Gudorf, the Downtown Dayton Partnership president

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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In a meeting Spina recalled from the day before, a person affiliated with UD was describing how last year’s launch of The Flyer bus was a huge step to getting UD students downtown. The free circulator bus service makes trips from Downtown Dayton to the university every 10 minutes and can be followed using RTA’s website and the Transit App.

“What he had articulated, what he had learned interacting with folks from different areas, just brought it home for me once again,” Spina said. “Our students want to get out of the “UD bubble” as we used to call it. They want to engage with the community.”

“Hold us accountable,” Spina said. “We have a vision— making certain that our faculty, staff and students get down to the Arcade to engage with others. If you see us retreating to kind of, typical academia, you got to let us know. But I don’t expect that to happen. But again, if it’s not a place with a lot of mixing, a lot of engaging across differences, then we fail.”

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Downtown dayton meeting

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

UD and the Entrepreneurs Center plan to invest more than $10 million over 10 years to cover rents, operating expenses, equity support for the closing and furniture and equipment.