Five Things the Freshman Class of 2019 Might Take for Granted in Columbus
First things first — if you’re starting your first year of college in Columbus this week, congratulations! Welcome to the city, graduating class of 2019! You’re bound to find plenty to overwhelm you on your campus of choice, whether it’s OSU, Columbus State, CCAD, Otterbein or elsewhere, but we hope that you also take the time to venture out and explore the rest of the city when you have a chance to do so.
For the rest of you reading who are not 18-year-old first-year-students in college, you may find it interesting to know a bit more about this new cohort’s mindset as they enter the world of adulthood as new citizens of Columbus. Thankfully, Beloit College in Wisconsin puts together a handy annual list pointing out the things that have been invented, discovered, launched, or ceased to exist in the year 1997 (the primary year of birth for the new freshman class), which may make you feel very old when you read it. While the Beloit list of 50 national and world facts are certainly interesting, we decided to come up with a list of five items on our own for a specific local perspective. Enjoy!
1. There’s No Such Thing as “Old COSI”
If you were born in 1997, then you were birthed the same year that construction began on “the new COSI” — also known as just plain COSI. The current location of the science center didn’t actually open until 1999, but if you managed to visit the original before turning two years old, then you probably don’t have much of a memory of it. And this means that the number of adults with those fond memories of their beloved original COSI location on East Broad Street will only continue to decline from here on out.
2. The Tuttle Mall Has Always Been Around
When The Mall at Tuttle Crossing opened its doors in the summer of 1997, it was a special moment. It was the first new suburban mall built in the Columbus market in three decades, and the first contender in what would become a new wave of high-end regional retail shopping. If you were born in 1997, then the Tuttle Mall has not only always existed, but Easton Town Center (opened in 1999) and Polaris Fashion Place (opened in 2001) will also feel like they’ve been around for pretty much your whole life.
3. Columbus Has Always Been Home to Professional Sports
That’s right. There’s a reason the Crew SC has the number 96 on their logo. It’s because our Major League Soccer team was established 19 years ago in 1996. The team has been playing longer than the new freshman class has been alive, which means there has never been a time in their lifespan when Columbus was not home to a professional sports franchise. The Blue Jackets can trace their roots back to 1997 when the NHL expansion to Columbus was first unveiled, but the team didn’t take to the ice for the first time until the year 2000 when Nationwide Arena was completed.
4. The Ohio Penitentiary has Always Been Demolished
Speaking of Nationwide Arena… incoming first year students may be interested in learning that Downtown’s shiny and pristine Arena District was once home to a historic abandoned prison. Those born in 1997 just missed a chance to see the Ohio Penitentiary in person though, as demolition began that year and continued through 1998, making way for the Arena and the District.
5. The Schottenstein Center has Always Been Around
Last but not least, there’s one more big building that has always existed as far as anyone born in 1997 can tell… The Value City Arena at The Jerome Schottenstein Center (or, The Schott if you’re into the whole brevity thing*). This institution is where you’ve always known OSU Basketball games to take place, in addition to big concerts and other campus-centric events. You may soon be able to witness the next phase of OSU sports facility history as the former basketball stadium (St. John Arena) is slated for eventual demolition.
Ok, enough about history… are you looking for something fun to do this week?
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*That was a reference to 1998 film The Big Lebowski. If you were born in 1997, then you may not have watched it yet. I recommend giving it a shot when you get a chance.