Since 2009, when the College of Arts and Sciences united the legacy colleges to once again become a cohesive home to more than 38 departments and 21 centers, the college and university have invested more than $40 million to renovate our arts facilities. Most notably, Hopkins Hall and Sullivant Hall, renovated in 2011 and 2013, respectively, illustrate significant investments in facilities for the Departments of Art, Dance, Design, and Arts Administration, Education and Policy. The Arts District, encompassing areas of campus between 15th and 18th Avenues, envisions high-quality, modern learning environments for interaction across arts disciplines. Included are new facilities for the School of Music and Department of Theatre, which will feature a home for the new Moving Image Production program.
New renderings of Ohio State's planned Arts District — viewed by the Board of Trustees on May 30 at a meeting of the Master Planning and Facilities Committee — highlight a renovated Weigel Hall, home of the School of Music, and a new building for the Department of Theatre and Moving-Image Production major in the Film Studies Program. Both facilities feature new performance spaces, modern recital halls and high-tech classrooms.
The Department of Theatre's new building will include a thrust stage, in addition to black box and proscenium stages, and Weigel Hall renovations will add new rehearsal spaces and recital halls.
The university is currently seeking approval to increase professional services and enter into construction contracts for the new district.
“These facilities, located centrally and prominently near the Oval, will anchor the university’s ambitious new Arts District and reinforce our commitment to creative inquiry and performance,” said Peter L. Hahn, dean for arts and humanities in the College of Arts and Sciences. “This project will bring world-class spaces to our School of Music and Department of Theatre for teaching, learning and performance — all for the benefit of our students, our faculty and the Columbus community.”
The total project cost is $161.6 million, including $1.6 million from Ohio State Energy Partners. Ohio State is seeking board approval for the remaining design and construction cost of $146.6 million. Private fundraising is expected to support about $50 million of the cost of the project.
Pending approval by the trustees, construction will begin in June and include work to enhance roadway and pedestrian access. The facilities are expected to open in December 2021.
The Arts District is part of the long-term vision to open Ohio State’s front door to the heart of the University District at 15th Avenue and High Street.
A view of the Arts District from Annie and John Glenn Avenue.
“Momentum continues to build for our investment in the arts programs through these new facilities and the nearby 15+HIGH project led by Campus Partners,” said Keith Myers, vice president of Planning, Architecture and Real Estate.
We envision this district as a centerpiece for the campus, and a place for the community to come together to engage the arts.”
The Arts District is part of Framework 2.0, a long-range plan for the environment of the Columbus campus guided and informed by Ohio State’s Time and Change strategic plan.
The new district is a complement to the 15+HIGH project on the east side of High Street. Campus Partners, the university-affiliated nonprofit, is leading the 15+HIGH construction.
The development includes a University Square, a new home for WOSU Public Media and development of a “signature building,” envisioned as a hotel, featuring direct sightlines to the Oval and William Oxley Thompson Library. A renovated Pearl Alley will serve as a retail corridor with new stores and restaurants.