Students hoping to plunge into Mirror Lake this year might get the opportunity, despite earlier talks that the lake could be drained in the process of reconstructing the campus landmark.
After months of an ongoing renovation to Mirror Lake that left some wondering whether the jump into the water will occur, it’s looking like the tradition might prevail.
In the meantime, some Ohio State fans took to the lake early Sunday morning following a Buckeye win against Michigan State.
Despite reports that the lake might be drained after university leaders were expected to choose a final design plan early this month, Administration and Planning spokesman Dan Hedman said the lake won’t be touched during November — the month when students take to the water the Tuesday before the OSU-Michigan game.
“Final adjustments to the conceptual plan are in process and should be completed by the end of the year,” Hedman said in an email.
Once those adjustments are made, an estimate of construction costs will be determined, Hedman said.
A Facebook event about the jump said it’s scheduled for Nov. 25. About 3,000 people had replied to the event saying they’re attending the jump as of Sunday afternoon.
The lake was drained after last year’s jump to allow for work on a sustainability study aimed at preventing water loss because of leaks in the lake’s structure. The study was also set to address maintenance issues related to deterioration of the lake’s walls, and it ultimately determined that groundwater is a viable option for sustaining the lake. The study cost about $28,000.
Before being drained, the lake was filled with city water, costing OSU nearly $46,000 per year, Administration and Planning spokeswoman Alison Hinkle said in August. OSU refilled the campus landmark in August with water from a recently-dug well that cost an additional $30,000, Hinkle said.
The water was transferred from the well to Mirror Lake via a temporary pump and hose.
It was originally unknown whether that pump and hose would be the final measure taken to keep Mirror Lake filled in time for the jump.
Gravel was poured into Mirror Lake in May to reduce its overall depth to 5 feet as part of an interim measure toward making the lake more sustainable.
Some people decided to jump into the lake Sunday at about 12:30 a.m. following OSU’s 49-37 victory over Michigan State on Saturday night.
The 2013 jump created controversy after fences were erected surrounding the lake for safety purposes. Students attending the tradition were required to wear a wristband to enter.
Some people protested the efforts and took to social media to plan a separate jump the night before the actual one was supposed to happen. About 1,500 people followed through and knocked down the fences to enter the lake the night before the scheduled jump.
In March, an open house and visual preference survey provided students, faculty, staff and alumni the opportunity to weigh in on design concepts for Mirror Lake.
Landscape architecture firm MKSK is working with OSU to help design the updated Mirror Lake. Mirror Lake became a campus fixture 140 years ago after beginning as a small stream.