Ohio State started draining Mirror Lake on Tuesday, beginning renovations on the campus landmark and the surrounding area. Though the renovations have sustainability and historical aims, they will also effectively end the Mirror Lake jump, a tradition made by students in recent years that involved jumping in the lake leading up to the OSU-Michigan football game.
“There won’t be anything to jump into,” Keith Myers, associate vice president of planning and real estate in OSU’s Office of Administration and Planning, said in a Lantern story published on Tuesday. “The lake is going to be inches deep at the edges, and it’s going to be full of wetland marsh.”
Last year, Austin Singletary, a third-year in human nutrition, died after sustaining injuries from jumping in the lake.
University officials have said that, although they wanted to stop the jump, the intention of the renovations lies in remaking Mirror Lake and the surrounding area in its historical likeness, as well as increasing stormwater runoff collection. The cost of construction, OSU spokesman Chris Davey said on Monday, is likely to exceed $4 million, and thus require future Board of Trustees approval.
Some students were not sold on the renovations, however.
“I don’t think it’s necessary at all,” said Derek Briggs, a second-year in electrical engineering, addressing the new design and resulting construction. “It’s part of our school the way it is now.”
Paul Hynes, a third-year in health sciences, called the construction, which started about a month and a half before the jump, “conveniently timed.”
“I don’t think they should do anything,” he said. “People will still run into the lake (after construction is completed).”
With construction set to wrap up in spring 2018, Hynes added that he was disappointed that renovations would be ongoing until he graduated.
Not all students were disappointed, however. Alesea Cline, a nondegree-seeking student, said neither the jump ending nor the renovations bothered her.
“(Students) will just start something new, so I don’t see how that’s a problem,” Cline said, adding that she predicts the Mirror Lake jump tradition will be replaced with a new tradition.
The resolution that Undergraduate Student Government passed last year requesting that the jump be put to the end called for USG to “make every effort to support a new tradition created by the students that celebrates our university while respecting the safety of its students.”
USG President Gerard Basalla, a fourth-year in political science and strategic communication, told The Lantern in a story published Tuesday that USG was not planning a new tradition.
Cline also defended the renovations in light of costs associated with the jump in the past. With added security, fences, repairs and other logistical costs, OSU spent $100,000 on the jump in 2014, according to a Lantern story from the time. In 2013, before fences and wristbands were required for the jump, the cost was $46,000.
Cline did have one lingering question, however.
“What are they going to do with the ducks?” she said.