Ohio State’s three-year renovation of the William Oxley Thompson Memorial Library created a glimmer of hope for the local economy when jobs are scarce.
Since the start of the project in 2006, the 27-month-long renovation employed hundreds of workers, many of them from the central Ohio area, said Larry Allen, communications director for University Libraries.
According to a fact sheet prepared by the University Libraries team, dozens of the subcontractors are from the Columbus area, and each employed several hundred workers on the site.
Acock Associates Architects, a local firm located on North Front Street, headed the project. David Lee, a member of the Acock team, said almost all of the players involved are from Ohio or the central Ohio area. All of the prime contractors are from Ohio, Lee said.
The library employed businesses from the area to provide fixtures, furnishings and different types of equipment for the new building. According to the fact sheet, almost everything from the draperies to the lamp shades in the Grand Reading room were purchased from Ohio-based companies.
Local companies were also used to set up audio-visual equipment, to design and install signs throughout the building and to move more than 1.25 million books from other campus libraries back into Thompson after the renovation was complete.
All of the oak paneling and casework in the library is Ohio white oak, provided by Mock Woodworking out of Granville, Ohio. The company worked closely with Acock to select trees from Zaleski State Forest and Tar Hollow State Forest, both located near Chillicothe.
Vaughn Industries, an electrical, mechanical and high voltage contractor, benefited greatly from the restoration. Ryan Clouse, a spokesman for Vaughn, said the company performed electrical, security, technology, fire alarm and medium voltage work on the library.
“We kept anywhere from six to 35 individuals employed on this project for the better part of two calendar years,” Clouse said.
“This was an extremely successful project for Vaughn and it was recently given the Award of Excellence by Central Ohio Associated Builders and Contractors,” he said. “It is the highest honor you can receive from ABC.”
Craig Zander, a project executive from Turner Construction Company, said Turner worked as a construction manager for OSU and kept 10 employees on staff for the duration of the project.
“The total man-hours worked were 569,799, which translates to an average of 125 men per day over the 27-month period,” Zander said.
John Petrushka, a consultant for MSI Design, the team that worked on much of the exterior elements of the project, said his firm capitalized on the renovation. MSI employed up to four people for two to three years, resulting in 1,250 man-hours, he said.
“Marketing the finished product to potential clients as a part of our firm’s portfolio is crucial to our success in providing similar services to similar clients,” Patrushka said.