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OSU’s South Oval soon to be fenced off for construction

Students who usually walk through the South Oval will need to find new routes through campus this month.

Part of the South Oval will be fenced off from mid-November until Autumn Semester 2012 for construction related to the South Campus High Rise Renovation and Addition Project, said Cihangir Calis, senior project manager for Facilities Operations and Development.

The $171.6 million renovation will add rooms for about 360 more students on south campus and add updated heating and cooling systems to Siebert, Stradley, Park, Smith and Steeb halls, Calis said.

A geothermal well field, consisting of 261 vertical wells, will be drilled beneath the South Oval this month. During construction, an 8-foot-tall chain-link fence will surround the site.

Two sidewalks through the construction site will reopen in the fall. The rest of the South Oval will reopen in September 2012.

Construction will extend to 12th Avenue, just south of the South Oval, where crews will close certain lanes during summer 2012.

About 460 wells, which cost nearly $6.8 million, will be used to heat and cool Siebert, Stradley, Park, Smith and Steeb halls by summer 2013, said Scott Conlon, project director for Facilities Design and Construction, in October.

The wells will be drilled to a depth of 550 to 600 feet under the South Oval, Hale Hall Parking Lot and between Park and Smith halls. Construction on the South Oval and Hale parking lot will begin this month, and wells will be installed between Park and Smith in summer 2011.

Because students will move to campus in August, when temperatures are warmer, after the conversion to semesters in summer 2012, the south campus dormitories — which do not have cooling systems — need air conditioning, Conlon said.

“The high-rises are barely OK right now,” he said, referring to the high temperatures of those halls’ rooms during the summer.

Two 11-story structures will be built to connect Park to Stradley and Smith to Steeb, turning four buildings into two.

“It’s basically building another building in between these two buildings,” Conlon said.

The first floors of these new buildings will serve as central lobbies for the dormitories they join, and their upper floors will have additional student rooms.

After the project concludes in 2013, crews will landscape the South Oval to conceal the geothermal wells.

“Once you put geothermal wells in, you can’t build anything on top of them,” Conlon said. “So the future of the South Oval is ensured.”

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