Ridges Advisory Committee convenes for first meeting of Fall Semester 2018


Members of The Ridges Advisory Committee received updates on the University’s renovation plans for Ridges Buildings 13, 14 and 18, scheduled repairs to the Ridges Circle roadway and more from Ridges Master Plan co-chair Joe Shields and guests from OHIO’s University Planning and Facilities Management and Safety units during a meeting held Aug. 29, in Baker University Center 242.

The meeting was the first of Fall Semester 2018 for the committee, which is tasked with periodically providing feedback on the comprehensive land use plans for The Ridges and the University’s progress toward its implementation. The group is composed of members representing Ohio University, the City of Athens and Athens County; they report their recommendations to Ohio University’s president.

The committee’s last meeting took place April 30.

Renovations to The Ridges Buildings 13, 14 and 18
University Planning’s Senior Planner Miranda Kridler shared that the design phase for renovations to Ridges Buildings 13, 14 and 18 officially began last May, and the construction phase of the project remains on schedule to begin March 2019.

Kridler said that an early abatement package had also been added to the scope of the project in order to ensure the appropriate removal of potentially hazardous materials from the interior of the buildings. The abatement work will begin in the coming weeks.

The College of Fine Arts will be relocating their studio space to Weld House while the buildings are under construction in order to streamline the project’s renovation schedule and minimize any impact to building occupants.

The renovations to Ridges Buildings 13, 14 and 18, which were recommended by the Ridges Advisory Committee in December 2017 and formally approved by the Ohio University Board of Trustees in January 2018, are integral to the University’s Administrative Relocation Project, which will allow for some of the administrative offices currently located in the West Union Street Office Center (WUSOC) and Human Resources Training Center (HRTC) to transition to The Ridges. This transition will also enable WUSOC and HRTC to be repurposed to address critical academic needs.

Kridler also noted that University Planning has worked hard to ensure that the scope, and cost, of this renovation aligns with the principles of The Ridges Framework Plan, which continues to serve as a both a flexible reference and an important guiding document for The Ridges Advisory Committee and numerous campus stakeholders.

Champlin Architecture, the design firm associated with OHIO’s historic renovations to McCracken Hall and Ellis Hall, will is designing the $13.2 million-dollar project, with the office of Architecture, Design and Construction managing the project.

Ridges Circle Roadway Repair
Chief Facilities Officer Steve Wood provided details surrounding planned roadway repairs at The Ridges Circle, a project that was formally approved by OHIO’s Board of Trustees in August. 

“The Ridges Circle is currently home to a failing section of roadway that includes significant rutting of the brick course, shattered stone curbing and potholes,” Wood said. “Standard repair techniques are no longer feasible, and the area requires full depth reconstruction.”

Members of The Ridges Advisory Committee expressed a need to ensure that the completed version of the Ridges Circle project includes a brick roadway to maintain the historic aesthetic of the area – Wood wholeheartedly agreed.

“The project’s ultimate goal is to correct the roadway’s existing deficiencies by via a concrete base that will allow for future brick placement to match the existing roadway,” Wood said. “The brick placement could be completed as part of the current project or one in the near future.”

Ridges Building 20 Demolition
Wood shared an update regarding the demolition of Ridges Building 20, which is currently slated to begin in September 2019. The project, which will also include the creation of a pedestrian pathway and the installation of approximately 120 new parking spaces, is anticipated to cost approximately $2.8 million.

In December 2017, The Ridges Advisory Committee stated that they agreed with The Ridges Framework’s designation of Building 20 as a non-contributing building that compromised the “sense of place” at The Ridges. They also relayed that replacing the building with green space and added parking for community events aligns with their vision to make The Ridges an inviting space for everyone.

Additional Improvements to Buildings at The Ridges
Wood provided updates regarding additional renovation projects being considered for The Ridges. Such initiatives are intended to improve and maintain the space and existing structures within the area. The projects, the majority of which are currently in the pre-design phase, include:

  • HVAC and boiler system upgrades to Ridges Building 25 (Konneker Research Laboratories)
  • Upgrades to the HVAC system within the Ridges Auditorium
  • Remediation of structural deterioration in Buildings 7 and 29
  • Voltage and HVAC upgrades to Ridges Building 37 (Printing Services)
  • Infill of underground cisterns adjacent to buildings at The Ridges to alleviate potential safety or water intrusion concerns

Updates regarding Tier 2 land at The Ridges
The Ridges Advisory Committee asked University leadership if any updates and/or external development inquiries related to The Ridges Tier 2 land had occurred over the summer; the University relayed that they had not received any formal inquiries or Tier 2 land development requests in recent months.

Next steps
University leadership plans to schedule another meeting with The Ridges Advisory Committee before the end of 2018. Details of the meeting will be announced in Compass; it will be open to the public.

August 30, 2018
Staff reports