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$1.1B Med Center on time, faces changes

Thomas Bradley / Campus editor

Although the largest project Ohio State has ever taken under its belt still has two more years of construction before its planned completion date, officials say the $1.1 billion Wexner Medical Center expansion is on time and on budget. But there are changes on the horizon for the expansion.

Jay Kasey, project manager for the Medical Center expansion, known as ProjectONE, said there will also be more changes brought to the board in June, including guaranteed maximum prices.

“As part of construction reform, we will have guaranteed maximum prices (GMPs) that we will accept from the contractor that will show us that the budget is being met,” Kasey said.

“Once we accept those GMPs, it will be the contractor’s responsibility to stay on budget.”

Once that change is made, Kasey said, the risk will be transferred from the university to the contractor.

According to the medical center website, the construction contractor is Turner and Lend Lease, two contracting companies that joined together for this project and are based in Columbus.

Kasey said the university is still set to take possession of the addition between May 2014 and September 2014 and is on track to stay on its $1.1 billion budget, funded by a federal grant.

Kasey said the reason for the quoted five-month time frame is because the different floors and parts of the building will begin to be completed in May 2014 and will be finished in September 2014.

“It’s very good news for us,” Kasey said. “We are planning on taking an updated report to the Board of Directors in June. And that report will show that we are on budget and on time.”

The addition is the single largest construction and expansion project in the history of the university. The 21-floor building will be new home to the Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute, as well as the Critical Care Center. The final three beams were put into place on May 21. They were signed by Ohio’s first lady, Karen Kasich, as well as hundreds of other Medical Center friends, donors and staff.

President E. Gordon Gee told The Lantern that the project started off shaky in terms of time and budget, but OSU has since sorted out the problems.

“We won that $100 million grant from the federal government to build a radiation oncologist center, so we had to recalibrate, which put us a little bit off in terms of time,” Gee said.

“And a little bit off, as with everything you get from the federal government, that it costs more than they tell you it’s going to cost.

“So we had to work that through, but that’s kind of like a mongoose in the python,” Gee said. “That has now gone through and we’re in good shape again.”
Richard Ehrbar, a third-year in strategic communication, said he is woken up by sounds of the construction, but he thinks the expansion is a good thing.

“(The expansion) will kind of reinforce our standings as the best in America,” Ehrbar said. “(And) potentially open up doors for international students.”

According to the Medical Center Expansion website, the construction of the addition will have an economic impact of $1.7 billion on the economy by 2015. It has created/will create about 5,000 construction jobs, about 6,000 direct full-time jobs and about 4,000 indirect, full-time jobs through spending by OSU and its faculty, staff and visitors.

Dave Scherer, a second-year in electrical engineering, said he thinks the expansion will be good for jobs in the community, but he thinks the projects create “the illusion that the construction never ends.”

The building will be the one of the 15 tallest hospital in the United States, one of the 25 tallest in the world and the tallest on OSU’s campus, according to the website.

The next milestone for the project will be the enclosure of the building when all the sides are put up, Kasey said.

Amanda Massinople contributed to this story.

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