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Ohio State lays groundwork for framework plan

Chris Poche / Lantern designer

Future Ohio State projects will be evaluated to improve the university as “one university,” by following a strategic framework plan to progress academic and physical environmental success.

The framework, a long-term university initiative that the Board of Trustees approved in June 2010, is used to guide OSU’s project decision making, according to the Facilities Operations and Development (FOD) website.

At the Board of Trustees meeting April 7–8, updates were given on projects that follow the university’s framework vision, such as the renovation of Sullivant Hall.

“What do we need for students and for research in terms of academics? How do we get the dollars to do that? How do we have the kind of campus, physical buildings and facilities to be able to enable that?” said Jeff Kaplan, senior vice president for administration and planning and special assistant to the president. “Those are really the three legs of the stool. Each of them are supposed to support each other; they all have to fit philosophically.”

The “One Ohio State University” framework, a long-term tool to guide change that originated when President E. Gordon Gee returned to the university in 2007, aims to further advance the university in academics and research, residential life, the medical center, arts and culture, athletics and recreation, the river and open space, transportation and parking, energy and infrastructure and sustainability, according to FOD’s website.

So far, the parts of the framework that have been planned have cost more than $1.3 billion, according individual framework projects’ websites.

When Gee returned to OSU, he had an issue with the university being too fractionated, Kaplan said. Gee wanted a plan that would work on not just one part of campus’ issues but on the entire university.

That is how the idea of “one university” originated, Kaplan said.

Campus departments function separately and attempt to solve problems individually. A framework objective would have the university departments working together, Kaplan said.

“There are lots of pieces of the campus that don’t have advocates, that are critical to creating the kind of environment that we need,” said Terry Foegler, associate vice president of physical planning and real estate.

The framework will work toward having an academic main street, a science and technology gateway and a research and health sciences gateway, which will be located on Neil Avenue, Lane Avenue and Kinnear Road, respectively, according to FOD’s website.

Concentrating activity in the academic core, which is the area around the Oval and Neil Avenue, would be done by moving departments together in an academic main street, said Julie Anstine, the special assistant for administration and planning.

The exact departments and buildings will be decided in the financial plan as planning continues.

“The focus for the programs in the buildings wouldn’t be about one school or one department. They would be centers,” Anstine said. “It’s not a siloed district. You’re immediately adjacent (to the departments) on Neil Avenue.”

An idea of “no new net academic space” is considered within the framework, Foegler said.

“That’s not something that a typical campus plan says. That’s a revolutionary notion,” Foegler said. “Odds are, it’s not a lack of academic space that would be a challenge to us to meet our most aggressive goals. It’s the quality of that space, type of space or location of that space.”

The amount of academic space on campus is sufficient, even with the expected growth, to meet academic needs, Foegler said. Understanding how to maintain that space will help to inform the university’s academic and financial plans.

Another of the framework plan’s goals is to create a campus with more green space and pedestrian-friendly areas, Anstine said.

Construction will take place over the summer on 17th and Woodruff avenues. The projects aim to make campus more pedestrian-friendly, Anstine said. She said the two streets will be closed while upgrades are made to the utilities under the streets and new streetscapes and sidewalks are constructed.

“Those public parts of the campus, the streets, the green spaces, probably do as much to create the environment than anything else that we do,” Foegler said.

The framework vision will work to develop the river corridor, the area around Cannon Drive and the Olentangy River, Kaplan said.

“In terms of green space, the biggest transformation would be along the river corridor and moving parking,” Anstine said.

Foegler said within the last month, city council has agreed to fund the design on a first phase of a relocated Cannon Drive out of the flood plane.

Foegler said removing the dam will assist in the restoration of the Olentangy River.

Framework plans include moving Cannon Drive, opening up a new area for expansion, eliminating a portion of the surface parking, having the city remove the 5th Avenue dam and restoring the river, Foegler said.

The financial plan, or capital plan, where the university decides to invest in physical environment, is another key objective of the framework and is based on the developing projects.

“We want the five-year capital plan that the university reviews and approves to really be an instrument that implements all of those plans,” Foegler said. “And we have to tie all of the goals, objectives and principles of all of (the projects) together.”

Current projects in the financial plan include the ProjectONE, South Campus High Rise Renovation and Addition Project, the Chemical Biomolecular Engineering and Chemistry Building project and the Sullivant Hall renovations.

ProjectONE is projected to receive $925 million in OSU bonds and has a $75 million fundraising goal, according to the ProjectONE website. The Lantern reported in October that The South Campus High Rise Renovation and Addition Project is projected at $171.6 million. The Chemical Bimolecular Engineering and Chemistry Building project was budgeted at $126 million in a 2009 FOD presentation and the Sullivant Hall renovations are projected at $24.4 million, according the FOD website.

The framework plan has transformed these projects, which were conceived prior to the plan, Anstine said.

In ProjectONE, the framework led to the decision to demolish Cramblett Hall to invest in green space in that area, she said.

The framework plan could take decades to complete, Anstine said.

“It varies by project and topic areas,” Anstine said. “Pieces will take decades, and we recognize that. But we’re trying to make sure everything we do today is a step toward (the framework).”

 

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