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Construction up on Ohio, Students worried

The construction works are on the rise in Ohio state that students and professor may face problem in the middle of the road.


When summer break ended last month, students returned to clanging hammers and heavy machinery. Work is wrapping up on a $1 billion cancer hospital at the university’s Wexner Medical Center, the largest building endeavor in OSU history. Farther north, in the area where most students attend class, construction is in full swing on other projects that will total $580 million over several years.


Now, students and professors need to dodge road barricades and concrete mixers.


There’s a cost beyond inconvenience, too: To help pay off debt tied to construction, campus housing fees are rising an average of 4.2 percent this school year, university records show. The university also is asking its Office of Student Life to cut costs by $1.8 million next year.

Ohio State has continued to tackle major projects while other colleges scale back. New construction at campuses across the country has been sliding for much of the past five years, according to market research by McGraw Hill Construction. This year, the total square footage of new campus projects is down 7 percent from last year, when the industry saw a slight uptick.

Construction up on Ohio, Students worried

Over the next five years, Ohio State is committed to construction projects that total $1.3 billion; $554 million of that is to be spent this school year. The university pays for its projects through a mix of fundraising, state money, student fees, debt and other sources.


But after years of marquee projects, the school plans to rein in construction. “We built two of probably the biggest projects in Ohio State history. Over the next few years, it’s hard to imagine it going up,” said Keith Myers, the OSU associate vice president of physical planning and real estate. “It’s tested everybody to build these giant projects.”


By 2016, Ohio State plans to knock down 11 buildings and erect 10 new ones along the north stretch of campus near Lane Avenue and High Street. Eight of the new buildings will be dorms.


Ohio State plans to start keeping all sophomores on campus in fall 2016. “At the core of Ohio State University’s new initiatives is a commitment to redefining the student experience, with a focus on enhancing the education of students beyond the classroom,” Dan Hedman, a spokesman for the administration and planning office, wrote in a statement.


Hedman answered questions about construction for the university via email, saying that project managers preferred not to talk directly with reporters.

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