Additional updates in Oglebay’s future

WHEELING — Renovations to Oglebay’s Wilson Lodge main entrance and updates to the resort’s dining operations are on schedule to be completed in the late spring of 2024, according to Wheeling Park Commission Vice President of Administration Uwe Roggenthien.

As updates are completed at the lodge, Oglebay CEO Bob Peckenpaugh teased future additions to the park during Monday’s Wheeling Park Commission meeting – including a new lion habitat at the Good Zoo.

The new exhibit is set to open in the summer of 2025.

The commission is also exploring adding a hotel or cottage attached to the exhibit for guests to stay in, according to Peckenpaugh.

“The idea is that you wake up in your room, open the drapes and there’s a plexiglass wall between you and the lions,” explained Peckenpaugh. “It will be a really unique experience.”

While the lion habitat addition is confirmed, whether the attached room will be added is still being discussed by the commission.

While the completion of the lion habitat remains over a year away, the addition of a porte cochere and an Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant entrance to the lodge will be completed in the late spring of this year.

Peckenapugh noted that other “deferred maintenance needs” have come to the attention of the park’s leadership during the updates.

At the top of Oglebay staff’s to-do list is repaving the road leading to the main entrance to the lodge along with staining and painting the building.

“Because we’re going to have this big, beautiful new entrance, we want to make sure that the whole building looks great,” noted Peckenpaugh. “I use the example that when driving up to the lodge, you don’t want to hit a pothole to get to this beautiful new entrance. What would be even worse is seeing dust and dirt on the side of the building that needs to be cleaned after the updates.”

Funding for the repaving will come from a distribution of $250,000 from the Park Systems Trust Fund of Wheeling.

The power wash and new coat of paint that Peckenpaugh believes will tie the updates together will be completed with funding from the Oglebay Foundation’s “Forever Yours” Capitol Campaign.

The inside of the lodge is also receiving attention, with Sarita’s Coffee Bar and the Resort Shop in the lobby receiving upgrades. According to Oglebay Marketing Director Wendy Hodorowski, the upstairs dining areas will also be reimagined with new dining options created.

To reopen the dining facilities at the lodge successfully, Peckenpaugh explained at Monday’s meeting, “all the right things need to be purchased, and all the right training has to happen.” He noted this includes reorganizing the park’s Food and Beverage Department.

The main staffing change will be Oglebay’s Assistant Director of Food & Beverage Bruce Wilkinson entering a new Director of Culinary position. Wilkinson will now manage the kitchens of the park’s dining operations.

Oglebay’s Food & Beverage Director Jonathan Story will now primarily focus on the “front end” of overseeing restaurant, banquet and culinary staff and stewarding food and beverage purchases.

“The reason why we’re creating the Director of Culinary position is the management of parts of the kitchen is not being done as appropriately as we want,” explained Peckenapugh during the meeting. “We’ve had Bruce step in to manage all of that. We’re starting with those two gentlemen in those roles, and that’ll flow out to the rest of our food and beverage.”

WPC Chair Gregory McDermott noted that the commission wants to ensure the lodge is “set up for success” once the updates are completed.

“It’s a delicate process of drawing the line between realistic ambition and then exuberant invention, and that’s a hard process,” McDermott said.

Peckenpaugh added that updates to Oglebay will be “in a perpetual state” for at least the next five years. These extensive renovations will include not only the lion exhibit addition and the current lodge upgrades but also renovations to rooms in the Lakeside Wing and Byrd Wing of the resort.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *

Starting at $2.99/week.

Subscribe Today