College of the Ozarks Begins Reopening Campus to Public

by: Scott McCaulley

With the School Year wrapping up with Graduation Ceremonies this weekend, College of the Ozarks now plans a phased reopening of campus areas to the public.

According to a press release from the school, The Hoge Greenhouses and Patriots Park will reopen on Monday with Edwards Mill and General Store along with the Stained Glass and Candle Shop to follow on May 26.

Other areas of campus including the Ralph Foster Museum along with the Fruit Cake and Jelly Kitchen will reopen in the fall.

The release also says that the Keeter Center has reopened to the public for lodging plus the dining room is open six days a week with the Sunday Brunch scheduled to resume on June 13. Curbside service is still available for the food at Dobyns Dining Room.

Masks and Social Distancing Protocols are still in place at the school.

The complete release from College of the Ozarks is below:

College of the Ozarks plans to reopen its campus to visitors, beginning with the Hoge Greenhouses and Patriots Park on May 10. Edwards Mill and General Store, along with the Stained Glass and Candle Shop, will reopen on May 26.

Hours of operation are as follows:

Hoge Greenhouses (Open beginning May 10): Monday – Saturday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday, 1 to 4 p.m.

Edwards Mill and General Store (Open beginning May 26): Monday – Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Closed Sunday

Stained Glass and Candle Shop (Open beginning May 26): Monday – Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Closed Sunday

Patriots Park (Open beginning May 10): Monday – Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Ralph Foster Museum and the Fruitcake and Jelly Kitchen are scheduled to reopen in the fall.

The Keeter Center at College of the Ozarks is open for lodging in Mabee Lodge and for dining at Dobyns Dining Room. With a new menu, and standard favorites such as meatloaf mignon and fresh ice cream from Nettie Marie’s Creamery, guests may experience the best of a time-honored tradition.

Sunday Brunch will once again be offered at The Keeter Center, beginning June 13. For reservations, visit keetercenter.edu or call (417) 690-2146.

As visitors approach the entrance to College of the Ozarks, two lanes will allow navigation of campus and ensure a smooth flow of traffic. The right-hand lane is for visitors to campus. The left-hand lane is for faculty, staff, and students.

A member of the Public Safety team will provide visitors with a map of The Keeter Center and of the College campus. Currently, guests to campus are expected to mask and social distance.

A much-anticipated reopening

The reopening of the College campus and The Keeter Center comes after a year of adjusted operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The restaurant began offering curbside meals in August 2020. Over the past year, The Keeter Center staff and students founds ways to innovate, meet customers’ needs, and give back to the community. During the holiday season alone, more than 3,000 holiday meals were purchased for curbside pick-up for those who wanted a taste of the holidays. In addition, more than 11,000 C of O fruitcakes were packed and shipped, along with thousands of student-made products.

To continue enjoying the College offerings from home, guests may avail themselves of Keeter Center Curbside. To place an order, visit keetercenter.edu. To purchase student-made items – including fruit spreads, the College’s famous fruitcake, candles and more – visit store.cofo.edu

“We are excited to reopen the campus in phases,” said Dr. Weston Wiebe, vice president for vocational programs and chief operating officer. “Our efforts to keep students healthy, experiencing seated instruction in the classroom and working in person at more than 100 workstations, have paid off. We have done just that.”

Administrators note that many colleges and universities across the nation were slow to move to in-person instruction.

“We are fortunate to be in the 3 percent of universities and colleges in the nation who offered fully seated instruction by the spring semester,” said Dr. Sue Head, vice president for cultural affairs and dean of character education.

The Keeter Center hours

  • Bakery: 7 a.m. – 8 p.m.
  • Nettie Marie’s College Creamery: 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.
  • Giftshop: 8 a.m. – 8:30 p.m.
  • Dobyns Dining Room:
    • 10:30 a.m. – 8 p.m., Monday – Saturday
    • Sunday – 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., beginning Sunday, June 13

All information regarding opening dates and times are subject to change at the College’s discretion. Please visit cofo.edu for information regarding the College and keetercenter.edu for updates on The Keeter Center.

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