Newly Renovated Pomerene Hall and Restored Mirror Lake dedicated at Ohio State
Homecoming weekend kicked off Friday morning at The Ohio State University with a ceremony celebrating one of the iconic locations on campus, the historic Mirror Lake District.
President Michael V. Drake joined Ohio State Alumni Association President and CEO Jim Smith, and John Carey, chancellor of the Ohio Department of Higher Education to officially dedicate the newly renovated Pomerene Hall and the newly completed Mirror Lake.
“When we were doing the renovation of these buildings and looking at Mirror Lake, the concept we brought to the table was really looking at the entire district, so the entire district would be renovated and reimagined at the same time. I hope that you see that,” Drake said.
Smith said Mirror Lake has special meaning for Ohio State alumni. More than 300 alumni shared stories of their favorite moments at the site that are now part of the university archives.
“As we look forward Homecoming festivities in the weekend ahead, our gathering today feels especially meaningful. We are honoring our past as we look ahead for a bright future for generations of Buckeyes to come,” he said.
When it was built in 1922, Pomerene Hall served as the women’s student union. Now it’s home to classrooms, meeting spaces and laboratories that feature modern design and the latest technology.
Pomerene is home to Ohio State’s Translational Data Analytics Institute, Undergraduate Data Analytics Major and the Department of History of Art. The $59 million project was part of a comprehensive restoration of the Mirror Lake District, which includes the renovation of Oxley Hall and Browning Amphitheater.
The renovation of Mirror Lake also handled an important part of Ohio State history with care. The university began exploring ways to make the lake safer and more sustainable in 2013. Renovations began in earnest in 2016. Nearly two years after the lake was shut down, the completed project returns Mirror Lake to a more natural and sustainable state — closer to its historical form.
The new Mirror Lake has more plants and flowers around the edges of the water and a gradual slope into the lake.
“Coming by over the last several weeks, it changes every week,” Drake said. “The plants had to grow themselves into their new home. As it becomes completely settled it will become a wonderful part of the campus.”
There are modern touches as well. Wi-Fi access throughout the district will allow students to study or faculty to teach outdoors. Seating in Browning Amphitheater has been repaired or replaced and new landscaping surrounds the stage.
Both projects are part of the university’s campus master plan, Framework 2.0.