OSU considers new dining, recreation facilities

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Students met with architects hired by Ohio State on Jan. 24 to discuss potential additions to North Campus facilities.

The meeting was run by members of Goody Clancy Architects and Elkus Manfredi Architects, who are under contract with OSU to gather student opinion and investigate potential improvements to the North Campus residential district.

Among the items discussed were potential new dining halls and recreational facilities. At the meeting, students placed colored dots on a satellite map of campus to indicate where they thought the best places for new facilities would be.

Thyrone Henderson, associate director of URDS, said that the meeting was to gather student opinion.

“Any organizational planning that takes place for students in the absence of student opinion is foolish,” Henderson said. “Our purpose is to get that sort of opinion and make sure that we’re heading in the right direction, in terms of our planning.”

Locations for a new dining facility centered around the current location of the Blackburn House residence hall. Other students' stickers indicated that students thought that Raney Commons, which currently produces food for campus eateries without full kitchens, should be opened as a dining facility.

“Each morning, not only are our baked items made fresh (about 9,000 items a week), but our teams also prepare sandwiches and salads,” said University Residences and Dining Services employee Karri Benishek in an email. Raney Commons also contains the University Catering company and URDS offices.

According to the John H. Herrick Archives, a catalog of Ohio State's Columbus-campus buildings, the North Commons dining hall was built in 1964 and opened as a dining facility in 1966. Cosmetic renovations in the dining area were completed during fall quarter of 2011, but no significant additions were made.

Student location choices for recreational facility were more scattered, but some stickers clustered at the corner of Neil Avenue and North High Street. Other concentrations included the current location of the Jessie Owens North Recreation Center.

A new recreation center might complement or replace the current Jessie Owens North Recreation Center, according to URDS staff at the meeting. Commonly called J.O. North by students, it was built in 1976 and last renovated in 2001.

The last recreational facility built on campus was the $71 billion Recreation and Physical Activities Center near south campus, which opened in 2005.

The meeting was organized by University Residence and Dining Services by an email sent to students and was held in Royer Commons. The meeting ran in three parts, with off-campus students meeting at 7 p.m., freshmen at 8 p.m. and sophomores and upperclassmen at 9 p.m.

Students with suggestions or comments about the additions should contact Thyrone Henderson at henderson.260@osu.edu.