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$24M, 2-year Cunz renovation complete

Abby Sweet / Lantern photographer

Since the School of Public Health’s creation in 1995, now College of Public Health, this is the first time the college will all be under one roof.

The newly renovated Cunz Hall has been in the renovation process since 2009, and the total cost of the renovations was $24 million, according to Christine O’Malley, executive director of external relations and advancement.

O’Malley said the renovation plans were based on an increase of natural light and environmental sustainability. The building now boasts a notch in the south side of the roof covered in windows. All interior office walls are made of glass to allow more natural light in the building. The building features energy efficient light bulbs with sensors that turn off if a room is not occupied. The amount of water used in the building has also decreased, according to O’Malley.

O’Malley said the building’s new staircases are also a significant improvement.

“The stairs on the north and south side are designed for natural light flow. Since we are the College of Public Health, we want people to want to use the stairs because it is the healthy option. The stairs are great and give you a beautiful view of campus,” O’Malley said. “It is now a pleasant building to be in, the old one wasn’t pleasant.”

In addition to the renovations, 95 percent of the construction waste was able to be recycled and 90 percent of the walls, floors and ceilings were reused, according to O’Malley.

“Carpet from the fourth floor was fairly new so we donated it to another building,” O’Malley said. “Most of the furniture from the building was donated to Habitat for Humanity.”

Cunz Hall has the chance to be Ohio State’s first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certified gold status building. The LEED certification is rated by the U.S. Green Building Council and is determined by meeting qualifications and obtaining points. Cunz Hall is in the process of applying for this status, according to O’Malley.

“The fact that Cunz Hall could achieve this status is significant considering all of the facilities, including labs that require many environmental requirements,” O’Malley said.

Renee Watts, the facilities managers for the College of Public Health, said that the original goal of the renovations was to maintain the university green policy that all new buildings and renovations must meet LEED silver status certification.

“We have enough points to be LEED gold status certified, but it’s up to the review of the U.S. Green Building Council,” Watts said. “We will for sure at least be LEED silver status certified, but it will take a few months to find out.”

If the building achieves LEED certified Gold Status, it will also be the first LEED gold status renovated building and the first LEED gold status academic building with labs.

Other OSU buildings that are LEED certified include the Ohio 4-H Center and the Ohio Union.

The building now holds 60 faculty offices, 11 research labs, two student computer labs, one wet lab, two conference rooms, four classrooms and wire access for the whole building.

O’Malley said she thinks having the college in one place is an improvement.

“Having the college in all separate places made collaboration difficult and operations redundant,” she said. “Cunz Hall is now a great place for collaboration.”

O’Malley said having the college housed in Cunz Hall is also a benefit to students.

“It is absolutely a great thing for students to have increased informal and formal interaction with the faculty and future colleges in the field of health sciences,” O’Malley said.

Stanley Lemeshow, dean of the College of Public Health, agreed that collaboration was a major benefit of having the college housed under one roof.

“We have a very diverse group of faculty here,” Lemeshow said in a press release. “Having everyone under one roof will help us bridge barriers and facilitate interactions like never before.”

The new location of the College of Public Health is also advantageous to students, Watts said.

“We’re in a wonderful location. We are close to the medical center and also to central campus,” Watts said.

The feedback from the university, students and faculty has been positive overall, Watts said.

“Negative comments about the renovations have been few and far between,” Watts said. “I think that students and faculty are happy to be here.”

Aliesha Boonie, a third-year in criminology, likes the building’s modern look, easy accessibility and quiet atmosphere. She’s also in favor of the environmentally friendly design.

“The renovations help the environment. All the buildings on campus should push toward that,” Boone said.

Dave Benner, a third-year masters of health systems and pharmacy administration and masters of health administration, admires the modern look but couldn’t tell the building is environmentally friendly. Benner said this is not necessarily a bad thing.

“I think it’s a good thing that I can’t tell. We can be environmentally responsible in a way that’s not over the top and diminishes comfort,” Benner said. “The green movement should be pushed in increments.”

Cunz Hall was officially reopened Oct. 14, with a grand ceremony and the annual Champions of Public Health Awards presentation.

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