$370 Million Project Underway at Ohio State

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio State University recently named Cincinnati-based Messer Construction Co. as contractor and HKS Inc. as the architectural firm that will lead the revitalization of the campus’ North Residential District to accommodate 3,200 new beds, two new dining facilities and recreation facilities.

The $370 million design-build project will support the university’s Second-year Transformational Experience Program (STEP), which requires sophomores to reside on campus in student housing.

“The time and effort we put into this review process allowed us to work with the industry experts to identify efficiencies in construction techniques and scheduling that will not only save a significant amount of money, but will also allow us to deliver facilities that will enhance their experience, including STEP,” said Jay Kasey, senior vice president for administration and planning at OSU, in a statement. “We are dedicated to keeping costs affordable for students while delivering an exceptional product.”

The competitive review process, which began in December 2012, led to an estimated saving of $26 million, according to the school’s press release. The two-phase construction project is set to begin this summer and conclude before the fall semester of 2016. Upon completion, the residential district will be able to accommodate 6,400 students.

The project will add nearly 39,000 square feet of common area space for students and up dining seats by about 500.

A press release issued by HKS suggested the project, which also includes a new fitness center, outdoor recreational facilities and support facilities for STEP programming, will not only attract students but also visitors.

“HKS is proud to be taking the leadership design team role on the project,” said David Harper, FAIA, director of higher education and principal-in-charge at HKS, in a statement. “We believe this project will truly create the transformative change that will positively impact the lives of students on the Ohio State campus for the next 100 years.”

STEP, to begin implementation in the fall 2013 semester, is a pilot program with a two-year on-campus requirement of student participants. In its first year, 1,000 students will be randomly selected for the program aimed to provide more focused engagement with faculty that will ultimately lead to higher graduation and retention rates, and post-graduation success.

The program gives special emphasis to the promotion of study abroad programs, undergraduate research, service learning and community service, leadership, internships and artistic endeavors. Students who participate will be eligible to receive a $2,000 scholarship upon completion of the program.

“At the core of the STEP initiative is student engagement and student success,” said Javaune Adams-Gaston, vice president of OSU’s student life, in a statement. “This project will enhance and expand our ability to provide an extraordinary student experience at Ohio State.”

The construction team, led by Messer, also includes Miles-McClellan Construction, Jacobs Engineering Group Inc., Brailsford & Dunlavey, Schooley Caldwell Associates, KZF Design Inc., Heapy Engineering, Shelley Metz Baumann Hawk, Korda Nemeth Engineering and MKSK.

The new facilities will allow OSU to support a new system of student housing that they believe will revolutionize the student experience.

“With this program, Ohio State will set the bar nationally through the development of an innovative second-year experience and the construction of facilities to support the experience,” said Joseph Alutto, executive vice president and provost, in a statement. “By taking this next step in the redefinition of the student experience, we will quicken the pace of Ohio State’s journey from excellence to eminence.”

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