COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Ohio State University‘s campus continued to get bigger in fiscal year 2022, with administrators’ eyes looking toward future construction while its projects remain mostly on track.
According to the Nov. 15 meeting agenda for the Board of Trustees’ master planning and facilities committee, Ohio State spent more than $912 million in FY 2022 on its projects, including construction and design. Most of Ohio State’s 13 major projects — projects with budgets of more than $20 million — remain within the projected timeframes and budgets. Construction on Ohio State’s Combined Heat and Power Plant is on track to miss its December 2023 deadline, and project expenses are likely to exceed its $289.9 million budget.
Ohio State gets its project funding from multiple places. Relatively small amounts of money come from the state and fundraising, while the bulk of funding comes from out of the university’s pockets — its funds and its debt.
Other sources include auxiliary funds that come from the Wexner Medical Center, the Department of Athletics, and the Office of Student Life. Some projects are also funded with partner contributions, which come from outside organizations or entities such as the City of Columbus or Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
With a budget totaling just under $3.3 billion, here’s where Ohio State’s 13 major construction projects stand.
Wexner Medical Center inpatient hospital
- Total project budget: $1.819 billion
- Funding source: University debt, fundraising, auxiliary funds
- Expected opening: January-June 2026
The 820-bed inpatient hospital tower east of Cannon Drive will replace the 440 beds in Rhodes Hall and Doan Hall and be home to an emergency department, imaging center, operating rooms, critical care and surgical beds, and a neonatal intensive care unit.
At the time of the committee meeting, the hospital’s steel frame reached floor 25, while brick installation and interior framing were ongoing on lower levels. A university spokesperson said in an email on Tuesday, however, that steel installation is paused due to cracking in a concrete column, pending further review by the project’s structural engineer and a third-party engineer. The cracking isn’t expected to cause a safety issue in other areas of the building, the spokesperson said, and other construction continues.
At over 1.9 million square feet, the inpatient hospital expands Ohio State’s medical campus. It’s expected to open sometime in 2026.
- Total project budget: $24 million
- Funding source: Fundraising, auxiliary funds, partner funds
- Expected opening: January 2023
With construction expected to wrap up by the end of the year, Ohio State’s lacrosse stadium is on track to open for the spring semester. Located between the Ty Tucker Tennis Center and Jennings Wrestling Facility, the outdoor stadium will house Ohio State’s men’s and women’s lacrosse teams, locker rooms, and more than 1,500 seats. The stadium will be the latest addition to what Ohio State calls its Athletics District.
Wexner Medical Center Outpatient Care west campus facility
- Total project budget: $349.5 million
- Funding source: Auxiliary funds, fundraising, partner funds
- Expected opening: June 2023, October 2023
With a budget just shy of $350 million, the newest addition to Ohio State’s medical campus will likely open for outpatient services in June 2023. The 385,000-square-foot facility will house a surgical center, radiology rooms, a hematology clinic, diagnostic imaging center, and other services focused on cancer patients.
The outpatient facility will also be home to central Ohio’s only proton therapy treatment facility in partnership with Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Proton therapy is a newer radiation treatment that uses positively charged particles to kill cancer cells, instead of traditional X-rays. Equipment is currently being installed, with proton therapy facilities expected to open in October 2023.
Combined Heat and Power Plant/District Heating and Cooling Loop
- Total project budget: $289.9 million
- Funding source: Utility fee
- Expected opening: Unknown
The natural gas power plant Ohio State has touted as one of its leading efforts to reduce the university’s carbon footprint is behind schedule and over budget. Ohio State estimates the plant will reduce carbon emissions on campus by about a third — not including the energy required to extract natural gas.
“This project has had numerous problems and delays” Mark Conselyea, vice president for facilities operations and development at Ohio State, said at the committee meeting.
Supply chain issues delayed construction of the plant, which was originally planned to open in December 2023. Conselyea said that a new contractor, MasTec, resumed work on the plant in October.
Renovation of the bridge on John Herrick Drive is complete and will eventually connect the plant to the rest of campus. Ohio State does not have an updated budget for the plant, but Conselyea said in the committee meeting that an updated schedule has slated construction to end in November 2023.
Interdisciplinary Research Facility
- Total project budget: $227.8 million
- Funding source: Auxiliary funds, university funds, university debt, fundraising
- Expected opening: June 2023
A five-story laboratory building on the university’s west campus is nearly complete. One of the first buildings to populate the Carmenton Innovation District on Ohio State’s west campus, the 305,000-square-foot research facility will house laboratories for biomedical sciences, life sciences, engineering, and environmental sciences. Two floors will be dedicated to the university’s Comprehensive Cancer Center, including a new Pelotonia Institute for Immuno-Oncology.
Construction is expected to end in March 2023, with the facility open to the public by June.
Energy Advancement and Innovation Center
- Total project budget: $48.4 million
- Funding source: Partner funds, university funds
- Expected opening: October 2023.
A 66,000-square-foot facility will be home to Ohio State’s convergent energy and technology research, with solar panels on the roof and other features designed to reduce energy usage. Construction began last October and is expected to end next fall, with the facility opening in October 2023.
Interdisciplinary Health Sciences Center
- Total project budget: $155.9 million
- Funding source: Auxiliary funds, university funds, state funds, fundraising
- Expected opening: January 2024
Construction and renovation along 10th Avenue will produce 220,000 square foot facility to be home to offices and working spaces for the health sciences. The colleges of medicine, dentistry, nursing, optometry, and other health-related fields will be able to collaborate together in research labs and classrooms. The four-year construction project is slated for completion in November 2023, with the building opening the following January.
Celeste Lab renovation
- Total project budget: $49.7 million
- Funding source: University funds, state funds, fundraising
- Expected opening: August 2024
Home to Ohio State’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Celeste Lab is undergoing major renovations to its labs and support spaces. Upgrades to the building’s mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems are ongoing, with the facility expected to open in August 2024.
Cannon Drive relocation, phase two
- Total project budget: $56.8 million
- Funding source: university debt, auxiliary funds, partner funds
- Expected opening: January 2025
After phase one was completed in 2019, creating a flood levee between King Avenue and John Herrick Drive, phase two work on Cannon Drive began in August. The project will rebuild the roadway between John Herrick and Woody Hayes drives and construct another flood protection levee — creating 500-year flood protection for campus.
Construction hasn’t started as the university works to get the necessary permits. It is slated for completion in January 2025.
Martha Morehouse facility improvements
- Total project budget: $41.8 million
- Funding source: Auxiliary funds
- Expected opening: January 2025
The outpatient care center off of Kenny Road has been under construction since September 2020, with 14 department areas under renovation in multiple phases. Phase one focuses on the auditorium and elevators. Other phases will see an 8,500-square-foot expansion to the complex to add registration and waiting rooms and multiple renovations to offices including its urgent care, pulmonary rehabilitation center, and patient drop-off canopy.
Construction is at phase four while patients have been rerouted to different areas of the facility, according to the meeting agenda. The main building entrance is expected to reopen in the spring, with the facility fully opening in January 2025.
Partially completed projects
- Total project budget: $165.3 million
- Funding source: University funds, university debt, fundraising, partner funds
- Expected opening: March 2023
Half of Ohio State’s newly named district running along Annie and John Glenn Avenue is complete. Renovation and expansion of the university’s School of Music — now dubbed the Timashev Family Music Building, after its premier donor — finished this fall, with the music center opening in October.
Still under construction and slated for completion in March 2023 is the new Department of Theatre, Film and Media Arts building. Expansion of Annie and John Glenn Avenue to High Street is also ongoing.
Jane E. Heminger Hall and Newton renovation
- Total project budget: $31.7 million
- Funding source: University funds, fundraising, state funds
- Expected opening: October 2023
Named after a nurse and wife of current Board of Trustees member Gary Heminger, Jane E. Heminger Hall opened to nursing students in August. Heminger Hall connects with Newton Hall on Neil Avenue.
Renovations on Newton Hall began in August and are expected to end in July 2023. First-floor renovations of the building will include new classrooms, learning spaces, and offices. Newton Hall is slated to open in August 2023.
Controlled environment agriculture research project
- Total project budget: $35.8 million
- Funding source: University funds, university debt, fundraising
Approved in 2017, the agriculture research complex houses research and learning centers for food production, greenhouse engineering, pest and pathogen management, and plant breeding. Construction started in September 2020 and was completed in September. The complex was on track for both its completion deadline and its budget.