Ohio State Newark Dean William MacDonald breaks ground on the new STEM building with other notable professionals who contributed to the start of the building on Aug. 7. Credit: courtesy of The Ohio State University at Newark

New construction at Ohio State’s Newark campus will provide the campus with its first lab spaces and an expanded curriculum.

The John and Mary Alford Center for Science and Technology — a $32 million project that broke ground on Aug. 7 — is a three-story, 60,000-square-foot facility expected to be completed by spring 2021, according to the Ohio State Newark website. 

Ohio State Newark Dean William MacDonald said it has been a long-term need for the campus, and will provide more opportunities not only for students who attend the Newark campus, but for other campuses as well. 

“We do have students who are at the Columbus campus that take courses out here and students here that take courses in Columbus,” MacDonald said. “If a class at the Columbus campus is full and a student has a way to get out of here, maybe they hadn’t been thinking about taking courses at the Newark campus, but now perhaps they would.”

The Newark campus will be able to provide research and lab experiences for its students, as well as new classes, MacDonald said. 

“It will be able to give us the opportunity to offer science classes we haven’t been able to offer before, like organic chemistry,” MacDonald said. “Some students may even be able to stay here for a second year, which is especially advantageous for someone staying at home and saving money.”

Thomas Hall, an Ohio State alumnus and donor to the building, said the new building will include a variety of different types of labs, including an ambulance simulation lab, which will be named after Hall and his wife. Hall, who is a physician, said he wanted to add labs to the Newark campus because of his experiences in emergency room medical services. 

“Newark is a large, beautiful campus with many wonderful facilities, and the thing that’s really been missing is the science and technology center, and that’s how my interest to donate started,” Hall said. 

MacDonald said the Newark campus is the largest of Ohio State’s branches with 2,943 students, and it also shares a campus with Central Ohio Technical College, which has about 1,500 to 2,000 students. 

The Newark campus and Central Ohio Technical College joined to raise $13.1 million of their $14.4 million goal for construction through campaigning, MacDonald said. 

The Newark campus has expanded facilities in the past five years, and breaking ground on this building will reinforce campus growth, MacDonald said. 

“I think it will show people the university is definitely trying to meet the demands for an Ohio State education,” MacDonald said. “It is making this campus even more accessible and being able to offer more courses.”