Kristen Mitchell / Campus editor
“We made a bold decision today.”
That’s what Ohio State President E. Gordon Gee said during a Friday Board of Trustees meeting. After several days of committee meetings, the Board convened to approve agenda items Friday, including a $396 million dollar plan to revamp North Campus housing and the surrounding area.
Plans for the North Residential District project are under way, and a model of what the area is expected to look like after completion was on display after Friday’s meeting.
The project is expected to add about 3,800 total new beds to campus, making the number of beds on North Campus total 6,359.
Senior vice president of administration and planning Jay Kasey said that in Fall 2015, about 2,200 new beds will be added to the area, and about 1,800 will be added the following year.
He said that while many buildings on that side of campus will remain, Blackburn, Haverfield, Nosker and Scott houses will be demolished.
Construction is scheduled in begin in July 2013, and is expected to be completed in June 2016.
Curl Drive will also be removed from the North Campus landscape.
The additions and renovations to the North Residential District are part of the effort moving forward to have all second-year students living on campus. President E. Gordon Gee has previously told The Lantern he expects to enforce the plan by 2015 or 2016.
In a university release, Gee said the live-on requirement will enhance the student experience.
“We know that students who live in the residence halls for two years have significantly higher second-year retention and graduation rates than those who have never lived on campus,” said Gee in the release. “We are creating another exceptional living environment, complementing work already under way in the South Residential District, incorporating the elements of student success, programmatic needs, architectural innovation and student and faculty interaction.”
Board Chairman Robert Schottenstein told The Lantern in an exclusive interview that Friday was probably one of the most important days he had been involved with on the Board because of the way the “bold steps” taken would benefit students.
“Students are at the heart and soul of this place and at the heart and soul of what we do,” said Schottenstein, who took over as Board chairman in April.
“When I was in school, I used to call home and say, ‘I really like my teacher,’ and my parents liked that,” he said. What if they could call home and say ‘God I love where I live?'”
The trustees met and discussed other university matters this week as well, including other construction projects on campus, amending OSU’s retirement plans, and fee increases and creations for several academic programs for undergraduate, graduate and Ph. D. students.