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Schottenstein Center renovations over budget, delayed

Lantern file photo

A two-part construction project to renovate the Schottenstein Center is over budget and behind schedule.   
The Ohio State Athletics Department began the project in June to renovate the locker rooms, expand the strength and conditioning training room and build a new practice gym for the men’s and women’s basketball teams near the northwest rotunda of the center.
The Lantern reported in May that the project was originally expected to cost $13.7 million, but will be more because of unexpected construction delays and costs.
Ben Jay, senior associate athletics director for finance and operations at OSU, said the project will end up costing $19 million in total.
“Due to unanticipated construction issues causing delay and higher costs, higher than anticipated construction bids coming in and the need to add funds to our construction contingency safety net, we will be going to the Board of Trustees next week to increase the project to $19 million,” Jay said.  
The Board is scheduled to meet Thursday and Friday to discuss several university matters, including the approval of $1.5 million more for the basketball practice facility.
According to the meeting agenda, $1.25 million of the $1.5 million total is to establish “a final guaranteed maximum price (GMP) amendment.”
The remaining $250,000 is for “differing subsurface conditions that were encountered during excavation on the interior renovation portion of the project,” according to the agenda.
Mike Gatto, general manager at the Schottenstein Center, said the delay of the renovation is due to working out issues with installing a HydroWorx exercise pool in the training room.   
“We’ve had some challenges with the engineering of the HydroWorx because it’s basically an in-ground pool that’s in the training room area,” Gatto said. “We have to kind of re-engineer that and come up with a different plan. It’s a complex piece of equipment so we have to make sure that it’s right.”  
The locker rooms were supposed to be finished before the winter sports season started, but OSU basketball and hockey athletes will have to change in the visiting locker rooms until about late November.   
Gatto said the construction team is working hard to have the locker rooms finished as soon as possible.
“First part of the project is getting the locker rooms done,” he said. “It looks like we’re slightly delayed so we’re hoping to have those locker rooms complete by Thanksgiving.”
Don Patko, associate athletics director for facilities management , said even though the renovations are taking longer than expected and costing more, it will benefit OSU athletes in the long run.
“It will give the men’s and women’s team(s) new locker rooms, it’ll give them new lounges, it will give them a new training room and a therapy area to do some underwater treadmill work,” Patko said. “They will also have a new practice gymnasium up top with a full basketball court and they will also have a new weight room.”    
Jay said the project is coming along and should be complete in a timely fashion if there are no other issues.
“The training room will be finished probably end of December,” Jay said. “The additional gym will be done next fall.”
Gatto said the renovations will be worth the wait because it will transform the Schottenstein Center into a top facility to accommodate a top program.
“I think everybody recognizes it’s going to be worth the wait for our program,” Gatto said. “The goal of the program is to be a top-10 program which we are, have the best facilities, and have the best tools for our student-athletes to be successful.”  
Other topics to be discussed at this week’s Board meeting include:
-An update on expansions at the Wexner Medical Center.
-Proposed plans for development with the money from OSU’s $483 million 50-year parking lease.
-The renaming of the Science and Engineering Library to the 18th Avenue Library, and renaming of other buildings.

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