Daniel Chi / Asst. photo editor
Following a string of accidents on campus during the academic year, a traffic signal will be installed at the intersection of 12th Avenue and College Road during summer term.
The project, which will cost $343,000, is scheduled to be started and completed over the summer, and the university hopes this will make the intersection safer for pedestrians in this high-volume area.
President E. Gordon Gee touched on the effect the semester conversion has had on traffic on campus and the safety of students in construction areas in a March 25 interview with The Lantern.
“I think there was a combination of just getting into a much different rhythm and all of us getting used to (semesters), and the second thing was the fact that we are doing $2 billion worth of construction. We’ve got a lot of construction going on,” Gee said.
Following the Fall Semester incidents, Gee assembled a Traffic Safety Task Force lead by Javaune Adams-Gaston, vice president for Student Life, and Jay Kasey, senior vice president for Administration and Planning.
“I think we had a combination of issues which really did result in some serious accidents, and for that I’m terribly sorry, but I do think that the task force was helpful. We’ve done a number of things there that are going to be out in full force fairly soon, and their recommendations have been implemented,” Gee said.
However, safety is not the only concern students have surrounding the ongoing construction around campus. Many students complain that construction on campus has felt like a long-term burden because many projects have spread out over more than half of their undergraduate time.
“I think this project on the South Oval is a good project, but it’s been under construction for what, two and a half years now, which is ridiculous,” said Kenny Myers, a fourth-year in international studies.
The $10.3 million project that was intended to use geothermal energy to heat and cool South Campus was delayed after ineffective drilling methods prompted the university to part ways with its original contractor. It is expected to be completed this fall.
Despite significant planning by Facilities Operations and Development, the impact of construction projects on pedestrian and vehicle traffic is sometimes unavoidable.
“Understanding how busy our campus is while classes are in session, we plan as much work as possible to occur during breaks and in the summer months when the impacts to the campus community are much less,” said Lindsay Komlanc, spokeswoman for OSU’s Administration and Planning. “Some projects cross multiple years and some traffic impacts are unavoidable during peak months, but we coordinate as much as we can to lessen impact. We also work very hard to communicate impacts to the university community as well as general information about what types of work we are doing.”
According to the Campus Construction Map on OSU’s website, there are 23 projects under way on and around campus. Eleven of the projects are scheduled to be completed sometime during the Summer Semester. Komlanc said more projects might be added to the map as summer project schedules are still being finalized.
“Some construction is to make major new improvements to campus, while other work is to ensure that our current facilities – either buildings, roadways or utility infrastructure – is kept in good, working order to service a campus that is active 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year,” Komlanc said.
However, some students wish the money put into construction projects would be used for more financial relief for students.
“I wish that they would invest more of that money into scholarships and financial aid,” Myers said. “If more students are able to go here with more scholarships, I think that, that would make a bigger impact than making the South Campus dorms look pretty.”
Some students also think campus infrastructure should be lower on OSU’s list of priorities.
“I don’t think that the infrastructure is as important as the quality of the education,” said Alyssa Talmon, a third-year law student. “I think that the purpose of the university is to provide the best education to its students … I think the campus infrastructure, in fact, helps recruit students and helps the university make more money and be more profitable … but I definitely wouldn’t say that’s the No. 1 priority.”
Komlanc said the updates to campus infrastructure are all part of the One Ohio State Framework Plan.
“The framework is a structure for guiding change over time, ensuring that our academic mission drives the physical environment, or put a different way – all of the construction you see is in support of the university’s core academic mission and is meant to ensure Ohio State has the physical environment and facilities needed to support the university’s academics, research, residential life, the medical center, arts and culture, athletics and recreation, open space, transportation and parking, energy and infrastructure and sustainability,” Komlanc said.