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Ohio State University Officials Express Thanks for Collaborative Process to Prioritize Building Needs of Higher Education Institutions

Ohio State University leaders today expressed gratitude to the Ohio Higher Education Funding Commission, which announced 2015 - 16 capital funding recommendations for the state’s public colleges and universities. The funding proposal includes the renovation of two of the most historic buildings on university’s Columbus campus, as well as numerous building and facility repair and maintenance projects.

The commission is recommending the state invest $52.8 million to convert Pomerene and Oxley Halls into state of the art facilities that will house the university’s new comprehensive data analytics program.

The recommendations now go to Gov. Kasich for consideration as part of his overall state budget request to lawmakers.

“On behalf of Ohio State, I am proud to have joined other higher education leaders across the state in this truly collaborative budget process,” said Ohio State University Interim President Joseph A. Alutto. “The commission’s focus was to prioritize programs and initiatives that would meet the long-term needs of all Ohioans through job creation and economic development. I am grateful to Governor Kasich for this opportunity and to my higher education colleagues for their insights in helping to chart a course for Ohio’s future.”

Ohio State is strategically focusing its research resources into three Discovery Themes: food production and security, health and wellness and energy and environment. At the core of all three themes is the need to understand and utilize large amounts of data.

The university plans to renovate the two buildings to include state-of-the-art space for a data analytics headquarters, which will house newly recruited faculty experts and research space dedicated to synthesizing and understanding “Big Data” across numerous disciplines.

“I’m truly gratified that the Ohio Higher Education Funding Commission has recommended that Ohio State receive $94 million to support capital projects,” said Provost Joseph Steinmetz. “Among the most important of those projects are renovations to Oxley and Pomerene Halls, great old buildings made possible 100 years ago, thanks to state funding at the time. With 21st-century state support, they’ll get brand-new beginnings—fittingly, as the hub of our first Discovery Themes initiative, data analytics.

In addition to research applications, data analytics has the potential to transform and enhance Ohio’s economy and workforce development efforts. In the future, businesses will need data scientists, and Ohio State recently launched one of the very first undergraduate majors in data analytics. In addition, the university is partnering with IBM, who recently relocated its global data analytics hub to Central Ohio.

Overall, the commission’s recommendations include $37.2 million for the renovation of Pomerene and $15.6 million for the renovation of Oxley. In addition, the commission is recommending approval of 14 smaller maintenance and repair projects totaling $15 million for the Columbus campus and $9.1 million for regional campuses. It also approved eight projects to reduce campus operating expenses, (i.e. roof and electrical repairs) totaling $17.5 million.

About The Ohio State University
The Ohio State University is a dynamic community of diverse resources, where opportunity thrives and where individuals transform themselves and the world. Founded in 1870, Ohio State is a world-class public research university and the leading comprehensive teaching and research institution in the state of Ohio. With more than 63,000 students (including 57,000 in Columbus), the Wexner Medical Center, 14 colleges, 80 centers and 175 majors, the university offers its students tremendous breadth and depth of opportunity in the liberal arts, the sciences and the professions.