An Arts District for Ohio State
(From the Office of Academic Affairs, spring 2012)
If you have passed Sullivant Hall in recent weeks, you have witnessed the evidence of its renovation. Construction trailers and debris haulers, the noise of demolition within, the activity of a small army of workers—all this is in preparation for a new incarnation for Sullivant, which will be home to our Departments of Dance and Art Education; and the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum, which is the world’s largest academic facility dedicated to cartoon art. The renovations, to be complete in 2014, will include four newly designed studios and a heightened roof to provide a flexible performance space with ample natural light. Walls of windows will provide greater visibility to the campus and the community. Changes also include the permanent location of the Music and Dance Library, formerly housed in Sullivant, in improved space within the Science and Engineering Library.
These modifications to our academic landscape are all part of the comprehensive physical vision for our campus known as the One University Framework. The Framework plan calls for the creation of a number of distinct districts across campus—the academic core north, health sciences, science and technology, residential life, athletics and recreation, western lands (West Campus), and an arts district at 15th Avenue and High Street. According to the Framework, the arts district will “allow artists, designers, musicians, actors, and dancers to create, think, and perform together. … The location also connects to vital eastern neighborhoods and positions the arts as the public face of the university.” A vibrant university arts district will also permit enhanced collaboration with downtown arts organizations, and that will benefit everyone.
In addition to the Sullivant Hall project, facelifts for Hughes, Hopkins, and Hayes Halls are part of the arts district planning. Hughes was renovated last summer to improve the acoustic nature of the building for its School of Music occupants. Hopkins is undergoing a more radical two-year modification, now nearing completion. Its brick exterior has been replaced with walls of glass and the interior reconfigured to create brighter working spaces for artists. I might add that the new Hopkins will be green and will seek a Silver LEED Certification. Hayes Hall has also been renovated and now houses all programs of the Department of Design.
We will invest $200 million in the arts district, which will eventually include the renovation and expansion of Weigel Hall, expansion of the Wexner Center for the Arts, and construction of a new arts complex to replace the Drake Performance and Event Center. Redesigned sidewalks, new street lighting, and trees planted from Lane Avenue to the South Campus Gateway will complete an environment that, according to the Framework plan, will “beat with passion, life, and learning.”
That vision is instrumental to our overall strategic vision of Ohio State as a Top 10 institution by 2020.