18:00 PM

Ohio State opens the new Ohio Union today

After just more than three years of construction, the new Ohio Union will officially open its doors today (3/29) to Ohio State University students, faculty, staff, alumni and visitors.

Grand opening events begin outside the building, located at 1739 N. High St., at 11 a.m. At noon, University President E. Gordon Gee and Assistant Vice President for Student Life and Director of the Ohio Union Tracy Stuck will be joined by student government leaders for ribbon cuttings at three major entrances. The outdoor activities and ribbon-cutting ceremony are open to the public.

Primarily designed to provide office space, facilities and programs that support students in their co-curricular development, the Union is also a meeting place for the university community and the Central Ohio community.

The $118 million Union spans 318,000 square feet and features more than 30 meeting and event rooms, seven eating options, including a 22-hour diner, banquet and performance spaces, an outdoor “Block O” fire pit, state-of-the-art technology and access to twin parking garages.

It is also the site for a number of student-based services, including the Multicultural Center, Off-Campus Student Services, the Center for Student Leadership and Service, and the Discount Ticket Program. In addition, several administrative and business operations will be housed in the building, including satellite offices of the Alumni Association and University Police, the Vice President for Student Life and BuckID. U.S. Bank will operate a branch office, and the Union will operate Station 88, a retail store offering convenience items and Ohio-made décor, wearables and art.

The building stands on the site of the 1951 Ohio Union, and marks the completion of three important construction projects within the past year designed to enhance the Ohio State student experience. The Thompson Memorial (Main) Library and the Student Academic Services Building were opened in August (2009) and February (2010), respectively. Another important facility to students, the Recreation and Physical Activity Center, was completed winter 2007.

“This new facility is a key component of our comprehensive effort to make Ohio State the nation’s most dynamic collegiate community,” said President Gee. “It was very consciously designed as both our students’ home away from home and a welcoming common ground for students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community members. In every detail, the University’s proud history was combined with a forward-thinking understanding of how contemporary students study, live, and work.”

Students and student needs have been at the forefront throughout the eight-year planning and construction process.

“The Ohio Union reflects the input of thousands of students who shared their thoughts about what a student union should be, and the hard work of hundreds of students who have actively worked with us in planning, designing and bringing together every detail of the building,” Stuck said. “We can’t wait to welcome the community into the building and begin implementing the programs and activities that will complement and support the university mission.”

The new Union, which was built with the help of 260 Ohio companies – including Columbus-based Moody Nolan and Smoot Construction – is expected to become the hub of activity on campus for students and visitors. The facility proudly displays Ohio State traditions and history, and showcases a number of products produced by Ohio companies.

Special events will continue over the next 30 days. For a complete schedule of events SEE: http://ohiounion.osu.edu