02:20 AM

Pomerene Hall construction continues with great care

The effort to restore a nearly 100-year-old building and bring it into the modern age requires a lot of care and more than a little respect for history. Work is underway to do just that at Pomerene Hall on the Columbus campus of The Ohio State University.

The construction at Pomerene and neighboring Oxley Hall is part of the Mirror Lake District renovation project. The goal is to take part of campus history and restore it rather than start over.

“We’re taking a building from the 1920s and we’re updating it for a modern mission,” said Ruth Miller, senior project manager with Ohio State’s Facilities Operations and Development Design and Construction team.

Construction crews work around ornamental plaster ceilings

When it was built in 1922, Pomerene used to serve as the women’s student union. After the current construction is completed, the building will house Ohio State’s data analytics program. The renovation requires a meticulous approach.

Ornamental plaster ceilings run throughout the building, so does hand crafted woodwork. Construction crews are working around the historic fixtures with great care.

In one room, an old gymnasium is being refurbished to house new offices. Sheets of plywood protect an antique gym floor that will be kept intact and refinished as the construction continues.

Handcrafted woodwork will remain

The renovation will mean new light fixtures, new electric and new Wi-Fi. Historic brickwork will be repaired. Windows and doors will be more energy efficient. But history will be preserved.

“Inside the building you can see great craftsmanship from almost 100 years ago,” Miller said. “We’re taking the time to make sure as much of the natural building remains when it’s finished.”

The $59 million renovation to Pomerene and Oxley is part of a long range plan to re-develop the Mirror Lake District. It will include renovations to Mirror Lake as well as Browning Amphitheatre.

“As we approach the 150th anniversary of Ohio State’s founding, our plans have been carefully developed with input from the university community to restore the lake and its environs to its original serene habitat with a focus on sustainability and safety,” said Keith Myers, associate vice president of planning and real estate.

Renovations began in October and is expected to last 14 months.