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Construction on new residence halls within 200 days of completion


What a difference a year makes.

It was one year ago this week – Jan. 23 to be exact – that the walls on the first of four new residence halls on Ohio University’s Athens Campus were lowered into place. One year later, there are less than 200 days to go until construction on Phase I of the University’s Housing Development Plan is complete.

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This image taken from a webcam located at Morton Hall shows a comprehensive view of Phase I of OHIO’s Housing Development Plan on Jan. 16. The webcam, provided by Corna Kokosing-Elford, is available at http://oxblue.com/open/OUHousing. Clicking on the play button at the top of the page allows the viewer to watch a time-lapse video of the project.

As of Dec. 22, work on the site was approximately 60 percent complete, according to Christine Sheets, assistant vice president for student affairs.

“We’re on schedule, within budget and within scope of the original project,” Sheets said.

An initiative designed to improve the residential experience and the comprehensive living-learning environment on the Athens Campus, Phase I of OHIO’s Housing Development Plan includes the construction of four new residence halls, a living/learning center and a central office facility for Residential Housing. Led by the Division of Student Affairs and the Division of Finance and Administration, the $110 million project is being constructed on the southern end of the Athens Campus on the former site of the Wolfe Street Apartments and adjacent lots.

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There is flurry of activity occurring at the Phase I construction site in this photo taken in November from Morton Hall to the north of the site as crews make progress toward the July deadline. Photo by Stephanie Luczkowski/Division of Student Affairs

While work continues on all five of the buildings being constructed on the site, the living/learning center that sits at the center of the project has seen the most visible change over the past semester. When classes started fall semester, work on the framing for the living/learning center was in full swing. By the beginning of this semester, the building’s roof had been laid, exterior walls had been constructed, and interior framing and stair construction had begun.

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The living/learning center being constructed on the Phase I site is seen in this photo taken Jan. 6 from the parking lot of the Ping Recreation Center to the south of the construction site. The living/learning center will be connected to the southeast and southwest residence halls on the site and will serve all four residence halls being constructed on the site. Photo by Angela Woodward

Much of the work on the site’s residence halls has shifted indoors where hundreds of workers are busy hanging drywall, painting walls and ceilings, framing interior spaces, roughing in electrical and plumbing services, and installing ductwork, windows, cabinetry, and fire suppression and access control measures. More than 330 workers, including more than 100 plumbers, are now working on the site – a number that is expected to grow as the deadline for the project’s completion nears.

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One of four new residence halls under construction, known for the time being as the northeast building, is seen in this photo taken in November from Adams Hall to the east of the construction site. Among the work being done inside the buildings is the installation of curtain walls, the large windows seen at the end of the building. Photo by Stephanie Luczkowski/Division of Student Affairs

In addition to the four new residence halls, the living/learning center and a central office for Residential Housing, the Phase I site will include faculty-in-residence apartments; multipurpose, classroom, lounge and study areas; energy efficient mechanical and electrical systems; and fully accessible and green building designs. The contractors working on the site have joined OHIO’s commitment to sustainability, and, according to Sheets, around 80 percent of the waste generated on the construction site has been recycled.

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This photo, taken in November from Clippinger Laboratories to the west of the Phase I site, shows the southwest building (on the right) and the northwest building (on the left), which was the last residence hall to emerge on the site. Brick work continues on the northwest building. Photo by Stephanie Luczkowski/Division of Student Affairs

All four of the new residence halls will open to Ohio University students this August, marking the completion of a project that began in May 2013 as part of a larger housing master plan for OHIO’s East and South Greens.

“It’s exciting,” Pete Trentacoste, executive director of Residential Housing, said of the project. “This is such a transformational project for the University and Residential Housing. It’s amazing to see almost two years later how far this project has come, and it’s sparked an energy in this department that I haven’t seen since I arrived on this campus.”

The new residence halls will house about 900 students in suite-style living, which, according to Trentacoste, is popular among second-year students. Trentacoste explained that the new residence halls will house both first- and second-year students, and first-year students’ response to the suite-style living will help shape Phase II of the University’s Housing Development Plan.

According to Trentacoste, the room selection process for the 2015-16 academic year will begin in March and will include the four new residence halls. As those buildings have yet to be named, they will be labeled “Phase I Northwest Building,” “Phase I Southwest Building,” “Phase I Northeast Building” and “Phase I Southeast Building.”

A ‘sweeping’ change in scenery and greenery

In addition to the construction, renovation and demolition of residence halls on the Athens Campus, OHIO’s Housing Development Plan also includes the creation of additional recreational and green spaces. Phase I of the plan includes the development of Phase A of the plan’s “sweep concept,” creating pedestrian pathways and green space that will link the campus’ East and South Greens to its West Green and upper campus.

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This graphic shows Phase A of the “sweep,” which is being developed as part of OHIO’s Housing Development Plan. The sweep follows the old railroad bed that runs through the Athens Campus. Graphic by AECOM, formerly known as URS

Work on Phase A of the sweep, which is located on the northern end of the Phase I site from University Terrace to South Beach’s sand volleyball courts, is already underway and will continue through the summer.

“Phase A of the sweep will include a complete front yard for the Phase I site and will serve as a connection to the campus core,” Sheets explained.

Phase A of the sweep will include a hillside amphitheater that will be available for use by members of the OHIO community, as well as additional green space that can be used for gathering, playing and learning.

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Ohio University students walk along the new sidewalk that was installed during fall semester as part of Phase A of the sweep. Photo by Angela Woodward

The sweep will also include pedestrian pathways, some of which have already been installed.

Fall semester saw the installation of a paved sidewalk from University Terrace to the Phase I site. That sidewalk will be extended to Race Street and South Green in the coming months, and a pedestrian crosswalk will be installed across University Terrace.

The sidewalk work is expected to be completed by June with Phase A of the sweep scheduled to be finished by mid-August.

Construction on the Phase I site has also necessitated the relocation of a small park on the Athens Campus. Click here to read a related article.

Phase I by the numbers

60: Approximate percentage of the project completed*

80: Approximate percentage of waste from the site that is being recycled

Over 100: Number of plumbers working on site

Over 330: Number of workers on site

455: Number of residence hall rooms

900: Number of beds

July 2015: Date for project completion

August 2015: First residents move into new residence halls

*Number as of Dec. 22