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OSU campus gets extreme makeover

Fall usually means a sea of scarlet and gray at Ohio State, but construction on campus this fall has many seeing orange.

Some of the biggest road closures are near the medical center as a result of the ProjectONE expansion project.

The billion-dollar project, which began in 2007, required crews to close Cannon Drive, one of the area’s major arteries.

Though Cannon Drive is back open, 10th Avenue is closed between the Ross Heart Hospital and the medical center parking garage. It will remain closed for at least the next six months, said Jay Kasey, the chief operating officer of the OSU health system.

He said the work hasn’t been a major obstacle to medical center access.

More patients have visited the emergency unit and outpatient care since construction began, Kasey said. Those patients receive questionnaires asking whether they had trouble getting to the university.

“We don’t think we’ve got a problem, but it’s an effort to make sure,” he said.

The project is scheduled to finish in 2013 and will require traffic changes until it wraps up, Kasey said.

The area around the Lane Avenue parking garage also underwent changes during construction of the new Student Academic Services Building, which opened in the spring.

The building houses many departments, including the Office of the Bursar and the Office of the University Registrar.

South Campus

Kennedy Commons, a south-campus dining hall, is closed for renovations. Construction on the project, which will cost $14 million, is expected to be completed by Aug. 1, 2011, and Kennedy is expected to re-open in September, said Dorothy Leachman, the associate director for facilities projects.

Another major project, the South Campus High Rise, will turn south campus into a long-term construction zone.

Major construction will not begin until next year, when Park and Stradley halls will close.

The project will connect Park to Stradley and Smith to Steeb with the addition of an 11-floor high-rise between the buildings.

Rather than four towers, the layout will look more like two “H’s” after construction is complete, Leachman said.

Each “H” will house about 1,000 people, a population size closer to that of Morrill Tower, she said.

Thyrone Henderson, the associate director for the University Residence and Dining Services, said the buildings will house lounges and community areas that students will want to use.

Renovations in five residence halls — Siebert, Stradley, Park, Smith and Steeb — will add air-conditioning to the buildings before the switch to semesters, when move-in day will be in August.

The renovations in the residence halls are expected to cost around $172 million and be complete by the start of the 2012 school year.

Jones Tower, another residence hall, was renovated and is open.

The $8.2 million renovations involved public spaces, bathrooms and individual rooms, Leachman said. Jones, formerly a graduate residence hall, now houses undergraduate students.

While many major construction projects are just getting underway, others, such as the S.R. 315 construction, are just finishing up.

The two-year project to improve roadways and bridges on S.R. 315 between North Broadway and I-670 is mostly complete. All lanes of traffic are now open, according to the Ohio Department of Transportation.

Though the construction on campus might seem like a hassle, Leachman said, it will be worth it in the long run.

“This is just one part of how we’re growing as a university,” she said.

West Campus

This summer, the footbridges between Lincoln and Morrill towers were demolished and completely rebuilt.

The $3.5 million project is in its final stages but created some walking traffic during summer orientation, Henderson said.

Construction on the footbridges closed parts of Cannon Drive to thru-traffic, according to the OSU Transportation and Parking website.

The major roadway, which reopened Sept. 16, was closed beginning June 14 and remained closed throughout the summer.

Cunz Hall, which will soon house the College of Public Health, is under construction.

The $24.4 million renovations are adding classrooms, laboratories, office space, computer labs, a student lounge and common rooms. Exterior renovations are in progress and include new windows.

The construction began in April and is expected to be completed by July 2011, according to the College of Public Health website. The building is expected to be open by next fall.

The construction on campus has also taken its toll on bikers.

Beginning Monday, the bike path north of the Drake Union closed for the final phase of construction on the Olentangy Trail. The $142 million construction project is expected to wrap up in December, according to the Transportation and Parking website.

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