WOOSTER — Ohio State University is moving forward with new construction projects totaling millions of dollars, including a sprawling health sciences center and parking garage near the Wexner Medical Center.
Trustees on Friday approved $131 million for construction, plus another $5.5 million in design services for the interdisciplinary health sciences center. The board met at Ohio State’s Agricultural Technical Institute in Wooster, concluding three days of meetings highlighting the university’s land grant history and mission.
The interdisciplinary health sciences center is planned for the area of Neil and 10th avenues, and will include the 150,000 square-foot renovation of Hamilton Hall as well as construction of a new 100,000 square-foot building. The center will include classrooms; anatomy and research labs; a 125-seat grand reading room; informal learning spaces; and administrative and building support.
The center is intended to serve a number of colleges, including medicine, dentistry, nursing, optometry, pharmacy, public health and veterinary medicine.
“It would be fair to say that anybody that has toured the current complex and facilities would acknowledge that they’re not up to standards of this great university,” said Columbus Partnership CEO Alex Fisher, who chairs the trustees’ master planning and facilities committee. “So it’s really exciting to see these new plans coming forward in the heart of the health sciences district.”
In board committee meetings Thursday, Provost Bruce McPheron described the health sciences center as an opportunity to think about “new ways that we train health-care professionals of the future,” emphasizing the importance of putting multiple health sciences disciplines in a central area.
“This will be a nexus that really not only brings life to this sector of campus from an educational perspective, but in fact, puts us at the forefront of thinking differently about how we train the next generation of professionals.”
Construction is set to begin in October and run through July 2023, according to board meeting materials.
The trustees also approved more than $33 million in design services and construction costs for a new parking garage at the former Dodd Hall surface lot, near Old Cannon and Medical Center drives.
The six-level garage would hold about 1,100 vehicles. Construction would begin in May and finish in December 2021, according to board materials.
“Parking garages are not always exciting, but … creating a balance of employee satisfaction and meeting the needs of our employees is important, so parking is always on the top of our mind,” Fisher said.
Also at the trustees’ Friday meeting, the board elected a new chairman, Marathon Petroleum Corporation CEO Gary R. Heminger. He takes over the role from Tim Smucker, who served as interim chairman following the May resignation of former chairman Michael J. Gasser.
And the trustees approved:
• Additional facility spending, including $2.3 million for design services for a new lacrosse stadium, $10.2 million to add recreation fields to Coffey Road Park, $5 million for Martha Morehouse Medical Plaza improvements and $23.2 million for renovations and an addition to Newton Hall to accommodate students in the College of Nursing.
• The firing of Deborah Mitchell, who was accused of improperly steering a $1.6 million project with the Ohio Department of Medicaid to the corporation she founded. Mitchell declined to resign and has fought the university’s findings and recommendation for termination.
• Ohio State Energy Partners’ $393 million capital plan that includes construction of a combined heat and power plant.
• The naming of Dr. William Farrar as CEO of the Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital. Farrar has served as the interim CEO of the hospital for nearly two years.