07:56 AM

​Relocated Cannon Drive, renovated Ohio Stadium top building plan at Ohio State

A partnership to change a major university roadway and a facelift for the Horseshoe top a comprehensive construction plan for The Ohio State University.

Ohio State’s Board of Trustees will consider several new construction projects next week when it meets for November’s session. Highlighting the projects are the relocation of Cannon Drive, renovations to the iconic Ohio Stadium and a new multi-sport arena.

Ohio State is seeking approval on $31.2 million for construction on the $51.5 million Cannon Drive relocation project, which is a partnership with the city of Columbus. The project will straighten the road between King Avenue and Herrick Drive and will protect the university from a historic flood and open up approximately 12 acres of developable land. The university is sharing costs with the city of Columbus. Parking plans at the medical center related to the project are still under development.

Artist rendering of Cannon Drive relocation.

Cannon Drive is just one part of the agenda. Planning efficiencies and cost-savings highlight the docket with several Athletics projects returning for construction approval after months of productive planning scrutiny.

“Following a thorough evaluation of budget, scope and programming, these projects are now better suited to meet the needs of users and grow the district in an innovative fashion,” said Trustee and head of the Master Planning and Facilities Committee Alex Fischer. “The process of evaluating each project individually and within the context of broader Department of Athletics and university goals, helped identify program synergies, cost savings and efficiencies. I applaud the hard work that led to this outcome.”

In April 2016, Ohio Stadium received approval for professional services, including design, and will seek construction approval for a $39 million make-over – a savings of $2.5 million from its original price tag. Look for the aging concrete on C-deck to get a facelift and for new suites and boxes for Buckeye fans. The work to refurbish the stadium should be finished in time for kick-off in 2020.

“Ohio Stadium is the crown jewel of our athletic operations,” said Gene Smith, senior vice president and Wolfe Foundation-endowed athletics director. “These renovations will improve the fan experience and continue to make it one of the best facilities in the nation.”

Fans are also part of the consideration for renovations to the Schottenstein Center which picked up $500,000 in savings through program efficiencies. Pending Board of Trustees approval, Ohio State plans for $31.5 million in renovations to the home of the basketball Buckeyes. The construction will expand the concourse and add more natural light to the building while also improving access to ticket offices and to the team store. Construction should take a year and be finished in February 2018.

Renovations are planned to the north side of the Schottenstein Center.

The site of the Covelli Multi-Sport Arena moves from the corner of Fred Taylor Drive and Ackerman Road to north of Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium and will be combined with the Jennings Family Wrestling Practice Facility. The $49.7 million project, scheduled for completion in 2019, includes a 3,700-seat arena which will serve as the home for the Men’s and Women’s Varsity Volleyball teams as well as the competition site for Men’s and Women’s Fencing, Men’s and Women’s Gymnastics and Men’s Wrestling.

The Jennings Family Wrestling Practice Facility will include five practice mats, coaches offices and support spaces. Combining two former stand-alone buildings allows for efficiency in design and construction. The users will also benefit from proximity to other athletics facilities.

“Innovation and creative planning helped find a new opportunity for the Covelli Multi-Sport/Jennings Family Wrestling Facility,” said Fischer. “Combining the arena and the practice facility will ultimately realize a cost savings on both projects.”

And there is a plan to spend $43 million for construction on the Schumaker Student-Athlete Development Center. The project will replace the existing Biggs Facility to the west of the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. The new facility will include a state-of-the-art athletic training center and athletic offices to serve about 800 student-athletes.

Artist rendering of Schumaker Student-Athlete Development Center.

All of the athletics construction projects are self-funded through fundraising and athletics revenue.

In addition to the athletics projects, the board will consider:

  • About $6 million to support the restoration of Mirror Lake and the surrounding district. The overall Mirror Lake District, including Browning Amphitheatre and Oxley and Pomerene Halls, is being renovated to create modern learning environments for students and faculty in data analytics, linguistics and the history of art – while retaining its significance, ambience and appearance as an early and iconic area of campus.
  • $700,000 for design work for an expansion of Ohio State Veterinary Hospital. The $7 million project includes a new clinical skills lab and space for future expansion.
  • Bricker Hall is in line for a $5 million investment for heating and air conditioning repairs as well as replacing the plaster ceilings on the third floor.

The academic projects are funded through a mix of auxiliary funds, university funds and debt.

The construction projects to be considered by the trustees are the latest in a series of historic investments by the university to support the core academic mission.

That mission includes the recently completed North Residential District Transformation. The $371 million project added 3,200 beds and 10 new buildings for student living.

A $31.6 million investment in Sullivant Hall renovated the cornerstone of the university’s arts district. Those renovations were finished in 2014 and created a new home for the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library Museum.

And a $32 million expansion to the Veterinary Medical Center in 2014 added a new intensive care unit and new surgery suites.