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South Oval geothermal project on time, doing ‘well,’ manager said

Lantern file photo

Despite hiring a new contractor in September, the South Oval geothermal drilling site has seen little activity recently.

Scott Conlon, Ohio State project manager, said this is all according to plan, a plan that could result in an early completion.

Once the drilling and construction in the Hale lot is complete, they will move on to the South Oval, Conlon said.

The new subcontractor, Minnesota-based Bergerson-Caswell, is doing “very well,” Conlon said.

“It’s going well enough that we are looking to expedite the work in the South Oval,” Conlon said. “But we’re just getting our hands around how that might happen.”

Conlon said they should know within the next week or two whether an earlier end date for the South Oval project is feasible.

In November, Conlon told The Lantern that the project was to be completed in October 2013. At the time the project was at least $200,000 over budget after letting Maryland-based Chesapeake Geosystems, Inc. out of its contract.

Thyrone Henderson, associate director of university residences and dining services, said he knows students are curious about all of the construction going on around South Campus.

Bethany Cluff, a first-year in classics, said the construction is a poor representation of campus.

“If I’m having people visit, I just tell them, ‘Just don’t look,'” Cluff said. “‘This is not what campus is like.'”

With the Office of Student Life, Henderson is a part of a group that created “What’s Growing On?,” a website designed to educate students, faculty, staff and other members of the OSU community about new projects. The website features maps, aerial photos and sketches of the South Campus construction and residence hall renovations. It also features four webcams, including one of the Hale lot, that allow visitors to watch live feeds of various projects on South Campus.

Henderson said he is pleased OSU has taken initiative with the geothermal project.

“It’s amazing that Ohio State has kind of taken this opportunity to take leadership in this area and meet certain green standards,” Henderson said.

The $10.3 million project that was intended to use geothermal energy to heat and cool South Campus was delayed after ineffective drilling methods prompted the university to part ways with Chesapeake Geosystems, Inc., The Lantern reported in November.

Conlon said there have been no changes in cost since Bergerson-Caswell began work.

Evan Schreiber, a second-year in music, said he misses the convenience of the South Oval.

“It’s sort of just been a hindrance when you’re walking to class and you can’t just cut across the South Oval anymore,” Schreiber said.

Though he misses watching outdoor movies and playing Frisbee on the South Oval, Schreiber said he is hopeful about the end result.

“It doesn’t look like they’re making progress, but what do we know?” Schreiber said. “Hopefully the outcome is worth it.”

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