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Transformation of OSU’s North Campus Begins

Brent Warren Brent Warren Transformation of OSU’s North Campus Begins
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Construction fencing is up and trees have been cut down along Lane Avenue and North High Street – the first visible signs of a coming transformation for OSU’s north campus. Although not quite in the same league as the recent $1 billion Wexner Medical Center Expansion, the university’s plans for the North Residential District are ambitious by any measure.

Eleven buildings (and parts of three others) will be demolished and replaced by eleven new buildings and three additions to existing towers (Drackett, Jones and Taylor). The new dorm buildings will accommodate 3,200 new beds; the other buildings will include two dining facilities, a new recreation center and a “retail pavilion” at Lane and High. Additional green space in the form of new quads and plazas are also part of the plan. The projected total cost of the project is just under $400 million.

Jay Kasey, Senior Vice President for Administration and Planning at OSU, acknowledged the scale of the project but preferred to emphasize the new learning environment that will be created for students.

“The true impact of this project is really more in the support it offers for the student experience,” said Kasey. “It’s certainly a large-scale building project, but this is really more than bricks and mortar. It’s about providing a physical environment that enhances the student experience at Ohio State.”

All construction is scheduled to be complete before the start of the 2016 academic year, when second-year students will be required to live on campus for the first time. The new district has been designed to facilitate peer-to-peer and student-to-faculty interactions, both deemed crucial to student development and central to the university’s Second-year Transformational Experience Program.

While infrastructure work has been ongoing since fall, the first demolition is scheduled for this week; a two story building at 33 West Lane, one of four two-story row houses that will be removed. Demo work will begin on Scott House in early February and on Raney Commons soon after.

The construction of three new buildings, all in prominent locations, will start this spring; a residence hall near the corner of Lane and High, a residence/dining hall on Woodruff Avenue across from the new Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Building, and another dorm building at the corner of Lane and Neil Avenues. The first vertical construction on the new buildings should be visible by summer, by which time intensive underground utility work will also be underway.

In all, eight new buildings are projected to be finished by the summer of 2015, with the first students moving in that fall. The second phase of the project will add a new fitness center and revamp several existing buildings, adding more beds and renovating public areas. This phase should be completed by summer of 2016.

More information about the North Residential District is available at whatsgrowingon.osu.edu.

For ongoing updates and discussion about the project, CLICK HERE to visit our Messageboard.

Rendering via OLIN & Acock Associates Architects.

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  • A few thoughts:
    1. It’s incredible how much campus has changed in the past 10 years and how much it continues to change
    2. It’s kind of amazing how many people you can house and how much green space can still be provided when there are no parking requirements.
    3. With the removal of Curl Dr, where does loading/unloading of people/goods take place for the various buildings?

  • chupicabraz

    Curl drive will be replaced by groupings of access service courts which will be tucked between the buildings allowing for student move-in / move-out as well as Fire department and maintenance access. These will replace the broad swaths of surface parking at areas of Lane & High and down by Neil & High and will serve to make a much more coherent site plan.

  • Three excellent points, Johnwirtz. My thoughts mirror your comment.

    I lived in Houck House for two years, and would have loved to have green space like this! While Houck seemed a bit dated, the location was great. I’m glad modern buildings are part of this plan.

  • kwilliam4

    Nice piece, Brent!

  • Geno99

    I hope they increase elevator capacity with the larger dorms. The older dorm designs always had elevators that were too small and too few and students tended to overpack them because it would be so long before the next one or the next one might be full.

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