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Mirror Lake to be drained, surrounded by fences again

Mirror Lake is once again set to be closed off by fencing this week as work begins to make the landmark more sustainable. Credit: Mark Batke / Photo editor

Mirror Lake is once again set to be closed off by fencing this week as work begins to make the landmark more sustainable. Credit: Mark Batke / Photo editor

Mirror Lake is set to be fenced off starting on Monday as work begins once again to make the campus landmark more sustainable.

A well was drilled and tested as a part of a sustainability study that concluded last year, Dan Hedman, spokesman for Administration and Planning, said in an email. He added that the drilling of the well and the testing of the water cost $56,000.

The university is now investing in infrastructure so the groundwater well can be a long-term solution for the lake, Hedman said.

The project involves draining the lake again and installing pumps, meters and underground piping from the well to the lake.

The lake was drained after the 2013 Mirror Lake jump to allow for work on a sustainability study aiming to prevent water loss because of leaks in the lake’s structure. The study was also set to address maintenance issues related to deterioration of the lake’s walls.

The lake was refilled in August.

This phase of the project is set to cost $160,000, Hedman said, funded by Administration and Planning.

The work is set to be completed in May, depending on the weather, Hedman said.

“As always, we consider all factors related to the timing and realize there is never a perfect time to conduct this type of work on a popular campus feature. However, enhancing the sustainability of Mirror Lake is extremely important to the university’s long-term efforts,” Hedman said.

OSU had previously been using nearly 50,000 gallons of city water to fill Mirror Lake. Once the infrastructure for the permanent well is in place, Hedman said, it could save the university about $40,000 per year.

Last year’s sustainability study determined groundwater was a viable option for sustaining the lake, Hedman said. The study aimed to enhance the lake’s sustainability and safety.

The sustainability study cost about $28,000, Hedman said. As another result of that study, gravel was poured into Mirror Lake last May to reduce its overall depth to 5 feet to use less water and make the lake more sustainable, Hedman said.

Columbus-based Teemok Construction is set to be the contractor, Hedman said.

Teemok Construction did not immediately respond to a call for comment Sunday afternoon.

Some students said they felt the construction would be a positive change for the university.

“I feel like OSU is always trying to better itself, so making Mirror Lake more sustainable is a good idea,” said Logan Sherman, a second-year in social work.

Katie Julian, a second-year in pharmaceutical sciences, however, said she thinks the fences could present some issues when it comes to pedestrian traffic.

“I think it’s kind of inconvenient when they block off the paths because it’s a way I take to class,” she said.

Ainsley Camp, a third year in strategic communication and English, said the construction wouldn’t affect her because her classes aren’t near Mirror Lake. She added that she thought the construction would help the lake’s sustainability, which would allow Mirror Lake to remain a campus landmark for years to come.

“Hopefully one day, when my kids go here, they can jump in Mirror Lake, too,” Camp said.


  1. What I’d like to know is whether or not Mirror Lake’s leaking will finally be fixed. The article never says one way or another. Ohio State may be saving money (after paying a lot of money) for this study, but what’s the final outcome? Is Ohio State going to patch the leak, or are we still going to have to top it off now and then? If that’s the case, it seems much of this money was wasted for the study and the lake is not a sustainable solution at all.

  2. I feel like sustainability’s become a buzzword associated with OSU projects that end up costing the university a bunch of money up front without many direct returns. I get that the rate which we’re consuming just about every natural resource will be impossible in the next 2 decades, but things like solar panels for the rpac that generate < 1kW per year cost much more to install for the university than are worth yearly 2% increases in tuition.

  3. Sarah, I hope you are an engineering student. I was wondering the same, but I think what they are saying is, cheap water is a better solution than fixing the leaks because it is CHEAPER and possibly they do not know how to fix the leaks. Lantern reporters? Get your brains in gear.

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