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Board discuss slew of updates, next steps for Energy Partners

The Board of Trustees discussed energy and Wi-Fi updates to come to campus in a Friday meeting. Credit: Ris Twigg | Assistant Photo Editor

Ohio State Energy Partners CEO Serdar Tufekci unveiled a plan to bring a microgrid to campus with the idea of making the Columbus campus more efficient in a Board of Trustees meeting Friday.

Ohio State is currently 100 percent reliant on the city’s public utility grid for energy and this plan would move the university away from that model.

A microgrid could allow for university energy to be obtained in a way that is independent from the city. The Board’s Master Planning and Facilities committee said the grid could “reduce the volume and costs of purchased energy commodities.”

One of the prominent measures in this plan to move Ohio State toward more efficient energy would be an installation of “smart meters” in buildings across campus to provide “real-time” insight of the type and amount of energy being used at each building.



The Board is moving forward in updating Wi-Fi across campus beginning in June with a nearly $19 million project that is planned to fill two major sporting sites with the connection, as well.

Pending Board approval, Ohio Stadium and the Schottenstein Center could have Wi-Fi for the 2019 season.

The plan was presented by Vice President and Chief Information Officer Michael Hofherr, who said the project will put Ohio State in the “top-tier” of Big Ten schools.

Hofherr said the lack of quality Wi-Fi is probably one of the largest complaints my office gets on a daily basis.”  

A proposed three-year project is set to start immediately with the installation of access points in academic buildings across campus.

Ohio State previously filed a breach-of-contract lawsuit against Verizon Wireless, which the university believes has not fulfilled its obligations regarding antennas on campus. Hofherr said funds could be recovered from Verizon that will help pay for the project discussed, but noted the two entities are continuing to try to work together as best as possible.

The committee approved the plan which will ultimately bring around 14,000 new access points to campus. The full Board will vote on the proposal Friday.


Major Project Updates

The Pomerene and Oxley halls renovation projects are almost complete. The almost four-year construction is scheduled to wrap up in April.

The project to upgrade the North concourse of the Schottenstein Center and add new offices to the arena is on budget and scheduled to begin in May.

Cannon Drive’s relocation should be 75 percent done by November, with the majority of the road open by Thanksgiving, according to the committee.

The next big development in the relocation project is to close the on- and off- ramps to State Route 315 beginning the day after commencement.


Contract Approvals
The committee also approved the university to move forward in designing a new outpatient care center at the corner of Hamilton Road and Route 161 and entering contracts for a partial replacement of Postle Hall, which houses the Ohio State College of Dentistry.

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