By Morgan Goddard, Contributing Writer
West Liberty University is home to many facilities. One that most might not be aware of is the West Liberty’s Liberty Oaks Alumni House Bed and Breakfast.
Located near the university president’s home, Colonial Heights, Liberty Oaks has been around since 1935. Ron Witt is the Executive Director of Alumni and Community Relations and the overseer of the day to day activity within the home.
“The bed and breakfast was originally the home of the university president Elbin in 1936,” said Witt, “he and his wife were the first people to ever stay here.” The last president to stay in the home was Ronald Zaccari. After his term ended in 1997, it was dedicated to the alumni of the school.
The building is named the Alumni House, but it’s open to anyone who wants to stay, 365 days a year, for a fee of 99 dollars a night per room. Through private donations, 300,000 dollars were raised to renovate the building, adding much needed resources such as a sprinkler, and a ramped driveway to allow for wheelchair bound guests. The B&B became operational in 2005. So much changed during renovation, that the only things original in the home are the crown molding, fireplace, stair rail, and the floor in the entrance foyer. Witt said, “I was hired in 1997, and was here for the whole process.”
All of the money raised was through private donors, most of them alumni. They helped maintain the historic home, and some even named the rooms in the B&B. The living room’s official title is the Babb Living Room. It was dedicated to Dr. Thomas J. Babb by his student Peter M. Sontag, in 1969.
The B&B has a living room, a library, three guest rooms, a powder room (first floor bathroom), a dining room, a kitchen, a breakfast nook, a sitting room, two full bathrooms, and a garage turned conference room that doubles as a handicap guest room. All of the guest rooms are open to be rented, except for the Bessie Anderson Miller room, which is currently occupied.
“Something interesting is that most guests enter through the side door due to it being located near the parking lot,” said Witt.
Witt mentioned some other quick facts. There is no Inn Keeper. Also, the attic and basement are not open to guests, however there have been plans for the attic to be made into an inn keeper suite and to eventually have a residential inn keeper. And, although it is a bed and breakfast, Liberty Oaks does not serve meals in the building.
“Oh, they did at one time,” Witt said, “but then it just became a continental breakfast, and now guests are given breakfast vouchers for the cafeteria. We haven’t had any complaints. The guests still have access to the kitchen, but we don’t advise cooking due to liability reasons”
The building is open to the public for weddings, receptions, they’ve even had families rent it for thanksgiving. No matter the reason it’s used, Liberty Oaks Alumni House Bed and Breakfast is a quaint piece of history and a lovely place to stay.