Former Ohio State President E. Gordon Gee is set to have a new permanent place on campus by the end of September.
Renovations on Gee’s new office space in Page Hall are expected to cost $50,000 or less and include minor construction, carpeting, painting and updating, OSU spokesman Gary Lewis said in an email.
Lewis said in a Friday email construction could be starting this week, and the project should be completed by mid- to late September.
Board of Trustees Chairman Robert Schottenstein had said July 31 no final decision had been made on Gee’s future office and denied reports that a $190,000 renovation project had been approved, adding that the goal was to find Gee an existing office to use, according to the Associated Press.
OSU has hired Columbus-based Gilbane Building Company and Delaware, Ohio, based MB Design Group to handle the renovation of rooms 210F and 210G in Page Hall.
The contract with Gilbane is worth approximately $18,000 and involves most of the painting and removing the wall between the two rooms, while the contract with MB Design Group is worth $3,087 and includes carpeting.
The space will have an area for an assistant, an employee and students who are working with Gee on his research of 21st century education policy.
Page Hall houses the John Glenn School of Public Affairs.
Gee will also maintain an office in Moritz College of Law, where he is serving as a tenured professor, but the “Page Hall space will be the only space for his center/staff,” Lewis said.
Until then, “Gee and his assistant have been temporarily housed at (the South Campus) Gateway and will remain there until completion of the Page Hall renovations,” Lewis said.
Some OSU students feel the renovation’s cost is appropriate.
“I think the university has enough money to spend on a president who did as much as he did,” said Mitchell Gerhart, a second-year in neuroscience.
“He is a really big figure for the university. I think that renovating an office for him isn’t too bold of a move for the university at all,” said Kathryn Wrightsman, a first-year in marketing.
Some students, though, think the renovation is too pricey.
“Given the amount of money he’s already received from the university and the retirement plan he’s already been given it’s a lot of money,” said Jeff Mojzer, a recent graduate in psychology. “It comes to a point where how much is enough to give to Gee… I don’t think a renovated office is necessary at all.”
Gee’s new position at OSU includes completing his research on 21st century education policy, as well as researching, writing, speaking nationally and teaching and lecturing for Moritz, the OSU John Glenn School of Public Affairs and the OSU College of Education. Gee, however, has not yet started at his new position — until June 30, 2014, Gee will be on special assignment with full compensation and benefits, according to the contract.
Gee’s contract with the university, which is worth $5.8 million and was signed July 29, promises Gee “mutually satisfactory office facilities” in the Moritz College of Law, the John Glenn School of Public Affairs or “such other location as the parties mutually agree.”
Gee announced his retirement June 4, effective July 1, and former Provost and Executive Vice President Joseph Alutto assumed the role of interim president July 1.
The announcement of Gee’s retirement came days after controversial remarks he made at a Dec. 5 OSU Athletic Conference became public. Comments about Notre Dame and the SEC in particular, among other remarks, brought national attention.
Kayla Byler contributed to this story.