First Look: The New North Residential District of OSU
Students moved into the first new buildings in OSU’s northern residential district in the fall of 2015. Construction of the remaining buildings – all located west of High Street, between Lane and Woodruff avenues – continued. until just before the move in last August. This semester, the first in which sophomores are expected to live on campus, marks the first time the new neighborhood has been used to capacity.
OSU Associate Vice President of Student Life Molly Calhoun recently gave Columbus Underground a tour of the new neighborhood, including the new dorms, the new North Recreation Center, a plethora of event spaces and Study and the two-story cafeteria, which seats 920 and is larger than any central Ohio restaurant.
Calhoun stressed the importance of outdoor space to the project, including the long brick path leading from the High Street in the west to the heart of the neighborhood, following the route of what was once West Frambes Avenue.
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The path ends at what has been dubbed Town Square, a large open space framed by the new three-story leisure center and the new buildings Noskar House, Scott House and Blackburn House.
âAt the start of the planning process, we said, ‘think of spaces between buildings as much as you think of spaces within buildings,â Calhoun said. âWe have historically done a very good job with respect to the indoor programming space, but we wanted to focus on the programmatic aspects that pervade green spaces.â
Space was created for the many large squares, courtyards and green spaces by demolishing a number of low-rise buildings. Twenty of the 22 large trees identified as âheritage treesâ on the site were saved and 225 new trees were planted.
A rotating group of student volunteers contributed from the very beginning of the planning process, which began in earnest in 2010.
âI tell incoming students, when you were in fifth grade, we thought about where you would live when you go to school,â Calhoun said.
Other highlights of the new district:
- Each residential building contains common areas accessible to all students living in the dormitories, with pool and ping-pong tables, video game stations, and party / event rooms.
- Dining options include a made-to-order breakfast station (open all day), gluten-free options, a Mongolian grill, and cabins designed for large groups of students.
- The basketball courts on Lane Avenue outside the new recreation center are now only accessible to students. They were also designed in such a way that they could be covered over at some point in the future, with outdoor courts placed on top of the new building (in anticipation of Jessie Owens North, which currently contains indoor courts, eventually replaced by an apartment building. ).
- The new trees planted in the district all have a trunk diameter of six inches or more, “so they’re substantial, and it wouldn’t take 60 years before you have a canopy,” Calhoun said.
- In response to student feedback, all laundry rooms are designed to be open, well-lit spaces. They are located on the first floor of each residential building.
- The new dorms all have a similar layout, with two communities of 40 people on each floor (and one resident advisor for every 40 students). Rooms are mostly two-person quarter-bath suites, but larger suites at the end of each hallway – with full bathrooms and private living areas – are available for second, third, and fourth year students. .
CLICK HERE to see more photos of the northern residential area at OSU.