Over $6 million in upgrades coming to the Marion campus

An artist rendering of multi-use student work space that will be carved from Morrill Hall's 3rd Floor remodeling project that will take place Summer 2018.

An artist rendering of multi-use student work space that will be carved from Morrill Hall’s 3rd Floor remodeling project that will take place Summer 2018.

Completion of Ohio State Marion’s new Science and Engineering Building didn’t put an end to improvements on the Marion campus. Coming this spring and summer are projects worth nearly six and a half million dollars that will improve access to the campus, instructional facilities, recreation, and student life. For the most part, the projects are funded by state capital dollars collaboratively identified by Ohio State Marion and Marion Technical College, as well as local funds contributed by both institutions.

Morrill Hall Upgrades

With labs opening this past fall in Ohio State Marion’s new state-of-the-art Science and Engineering Building, third floor renovations in the campus’s original classroom building, Morrill Hall, will soon be underway. Bids were recently received for the project. Where science labs once stood will soon be two new classrooms—one outfitted with moveable furniture that can be stowed to maximize the room’s flexibility. A large student research room in addition to four smaller research labs are part of the plan. A lactation room, restroom upgrades, large and small conference rooms, and a large student lounge will be constructed. A multi-media production lab will feature the latest in audio/video production and editing capabilities. Faculty offices will be enlarged with thirteen of them, for the first time, offering exterior windows.

One show scheduled for the Kuhn Art Gallery will be re-scheduled as furniture from the third floor is temporarily stored in the gallery space during construction. The gallery is typically closed during the summer months. “This allows us to keep the furniture in good condition by keeping it in the building where it will be climate-controlled,” said Ohio State Marion’s Dean and Director, Dr. Greg Rose. “This means, essentially, a one-month closure of the gallery outside the time it would normally be closed.”

According to campus administration, efforts to maintain the furniture for reuse in a climate controlled environment are an important part of aligning with the campus and university mission of sustainability and being good financial stewards.

The entire building will be closed during the summer as construction occurs between May and mid-August. The plan is to have Morrill Hall open again before the start of autumn 2018 classes.

Marion Technical College Upgrades

Marion Technical College will be using reserves and state capital funds to complete a $1 million renovation of Bryson Hall and the Health Technologies Building. A new lab will be constructed in Bryson Hall, allowing students to utilize cadavers in their human anatomy and physiology classes. Meanwhile space in the Health Technologies Building will be renovated to allow health technologies such as radiography to move from Bryson Hall to the Health Technologies Building. Upgrades to Marion Technical College math labs are also being completed in the Library Classroom Building.

Lighting and HVAC Upgrades

As many as four hundred and eighty exterior light fixtures will be upgraded to LED lighting in a $1.7 million project. Campus Facilities Manager, Ron Turner said the improvements will save the campus approximately $20,000 per year on its electric bill.

Another part of the efficiency upgrade is replacement of the boiler in the Alber Student Center. The new boiler will provide greater capacity and higher efficiency over the existing heating plant. “Adding this boiler now will allow us to expand the Student Center in the future,” explained Turner. Preliminary planning is underway to expand the Student Center in the next round of capital funding, making it more welcoming, adding student club offices, and food service.

Roads and Parking

The most visible project this summer will be improvements to campus roadways and parking lots. Visitors will first notice conversion of the circular drive on the north side of the campus into a true roundabout, in which traffic will only be allowed to travel in one direction. “This will improve traffic flow, particularly for those students entering our new west entrance and moving to the east side of campus,” said Dean Rose.

Another major improvement will be the addition of another 150 parking spaces as a new student lot is built on the south side of campus. “As our enrollment has increased, parking has become very tight,” said Dean Rose. “This new lot is a major investment in accommodating our students.”

Marion Technical College will get an overhaul of Bryson Hall’s front entrance as well as improvements to the loading dock and parking areas.

ADA parking adjacent to Morrill Hall will be upgraded from 14 to 20 handicapped lots and four new public safety spaces while entrances to the Morrill Hall dock are moved to improve sight lines and safety.

Most of the campus internal roads will be rebuilt with new pavement and curbing.

Bike Path Extension

As part of the paving project, the existing bike/walking path on campus will be extended through the woods to Woodside Drive, connecting the campus with Marion City’s bikeway system and, ultimately, to the Tall Grass Trail. The overall plan is to create a two-mile trail loop around the campus, connecting to neighborhoods on the east and west, as well as the Forum Shopping Center adjacent to the campus. Generous donors, including Ohio Health and the Charlotte Baldauf Foundation have contributed over $121,000 to the Marion campus trail project. Ohio State Marion has applied for a State of Ohio community capital improvement grant for the remaining $350,000 required to finish the trail project. “If those dollars come through, we will be able to complete the entire loop this summer,” said Dean Rose. “If not, we will complete as much as we can and continue fundraising for the remainder.”

As with any construction project, there will be some inconvenience as roads and buildings are closed. “We believe these improvements are important to our students, faculty, staff, and the community,” said Dean Rose. “We are trying to keep the disruption to a minimum by scheduling these projects over the summer when fewer students are on campus. We appreciate the community’s forbearance as we continue to improve Marion’s higher education campus.”

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