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Arts administration miffed by move

After spending four years and more than $125 million, the university will have a new state-of-the-art science building in 2014. To get there, several academic departments will go through a series of moves that some say will harm their departments.

The new Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and Chemistry building will be built between 19th and Woodruff avenues on the current site of four buildings: the Aviation building, Johnston Labs, Boyd Hall and Haskett Hall. They will be demolished by June 2011.
OSU alumnus William G. Lowrie has pledged $17 million to the university, most of which is for construction. Also, the state is providing $96.5 million for construction. Provisions in both the pledge and state contribution require that demolition begin soon.

University officials say it is urgent the project begin soon.

“The thing that seems a little funny about all this … is that what is driving it all is money, and expediency, because there has been a real quick schedule that has been necessitated by all this,” said Paul Nini, interim chair of the Department of Design. “I am not sure that the ultimate impact on students has been fully considered as it ought to be.”

The arts departments are scrambling to find new space. The moving plans keep the sciences in a central location. The arts, however, will be scattered throughout campus.

Second-year visual design student Lindsey Glover is distressed.

“I feel like the university doesn’t care about art students as much as science students,” said Glover. “I’m also paying 10 grand a year. There needs to be some fairness here.”

The three arts departments in Haskett Hall — Photography, Print-making and Art and Technology — will move to Hopkins Hall, on the North Oval Mall. These programs have space and equipment needs best served by a more “industrial building” like Hopkins, Nini said.

“It can more easily accommodate ventilation systems and mechanical systems that have to come along with the areas of art,” Nini said.

Some art programs in Hayes Hall and Hopkins are being forced to move. The new accommodations may not meet the needs of the other art departments, some department chairs say.

“It’s a blow to the morale of the students and the faculty that we’re unnecessary, that our needs are not being prioritized,” said Andrew Shelton, chair of the History of Art department, one of several departments that are moving.

The department is moving out of Hayes Hall in June and into Pomerene Hall as a temporary location.

“Pomerene is a beautiful building,” said Shelton. “But it is a bit dilapidated.”

John Roberts, interim dean of the Colleges of Art and Humanities said the quality of the temporary space is important only if a department has to spend several years there.

“Right now we have not been able to find the permanent part, and so what makes sense as the swing space can’t be determined,” Roberts said.

Although Shelton said he understands the complications involved in the moving process, he is still concerned about its effects.

“We’re sad,” said Shelton. “We’re devastated to lose Hayes Hall. The thing that I worry most about is recruiting faculty and grad students.”

Roberts has assured department heads that the university is trying its best to accommodate all their needs.

“History of Art and Art Education are in the same situation,” Roberts said. “Our ultimate goal is to find a final place for them, a permanent home for them that would be a space that used better design for their uses than the space they are actually leaving. Right now we don’t know where that would be.”

The likely swing spaces are Smith Lab, which was built as a physics lab, and space inside Ohio Stadium. There is also a chance that the swing space would be in Sullivant Hall, which is being renovated.

The best scenario, as Shelton said, would be to stay in Hayes Hall. But he knows that isn’t an option.

“I am confident that John Roberts and the people at [Facilities Operations and Development] are working to accommodate our needs as much as possible,” said Shelton.

Shelton’s story is one felt throughout the fine arts. The departments now in Haskett are moving to the newly renovated Hopkins Hall.

Those in Hopkins, such as the design department, are displacing
those in Hayes.

“We will basically be taking the space vacated by Andy Shelton’s department, History of Art, not through our choice, but because it is what we are being told to do,” said Nini. “We feel bad about that, of course.”

Nini added that their department at least knows where they are going, unlike many of the other art departments.  

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