The Ohio State University Alumni Association

Special Report Our Place

Framework 2.0 plan offers vision for our ‘campus of the future’

Ohio State’s long-term vision for development of its Columbus campus will strengthen the university’s position as one of the world’s most important and effective centers of teaching and research, President Michael V. Drake said in his State of the University Address in January.

“Everything we do must be representative of our opportunities as a national flagship public research university,” Drake says. “Framework 2.0 outlines a plan for how we might structure our campus to more fully capture our potential in the coming years.

“In broad strokes,” he adds, “it imagines the physical spaces that will inspire every aspect of our Ohio State community to be the very best — from students, faculty and staff to visitors on campus.”

The intersection of 15th Avenue and High Street is most notable to many alumni as the home of Long’s Bookstore, which operated there from 1909 to 2005. The building and other structures were razed in 2016 to make way for University Square, a mixed-use space tying the university with off-campus neighborhoods.

Ohio State’s strategic plan, expected to completed this year, will guide and inform priorities in Framework 2.0, described as a “living, flexible plan.”

Concepts and highlights include:

Flood protection and green space along the river

The Columbus campus totals 1,660 acres and “leaks in lots of different directions” through various entrances, or gateways, explains Keith Myers ’78, associate vice president of planning and real estate. One entrance that can be improved is Cannon Drive, where construction will begin this summer to shift the road westward. This will create a protective flood barrier and provide new green space along the Olentangy River while opening up 12 acres of developable land for the university and Wexner Medical Center.

A gateway to the arts

Signs of change already are visible east of the intersection of 15th Avenue and High Street, where a revived arts district will blend more seamlessly with a new mixed-use public space, to be known as University Square. The active, pedestrian-friendly environment will include a retail corridor and “signature building” that has direct sight lines to the Oval and Thompson Library.

QUICK FACT: University land holdings by the numbers

The Ohio State University has touchpoints throughout the Buckeye State. The Columbus campus is 1,660 acres. But the university’s land holdings, including six regional campuses and other property, total 16,000 acres and about 900 buildings, reports the Planning and Real Estate Department.

St. John Arena demolition “not imminent”

St. John Arena eventually will reach the end of its useful life, but its demolition is “not imminent,” Myers says. St. John contains the mechanical systems for the French Field House and Ohio State Ice Rink, and demolition won’t occur until new facilities are created to meet those needs. Comprising 20 acres, the St. John site could one day accommodate recreational fields for students as well as buildings. Myers says any development on the site could be done in phases.

Creating spaces for startups, innovation

Long-term concepts include an interdisciplinary research corridor in the midwest section of campus along Woody Hayes Drive as well as lab research and teaching spaces in the West Campus area to support the university’s research and innovation goals as well as community outreach and partnership efforts.

“It will allow students to take what they learn in the classroom … and, with partners, create startups,” third-year student and planning committee member Derek Whiddon says of the research corridor. “It’s exciting to see the future of our campus begin to take shape in this way.”

Restoring Mirror Lake and its surroundings

A restoration of Mirror Lake and the surrounding district, including Browning Amphitheatre and Oxley and Pomerene halls, will bring the area closer to its historical form, emphasize modern standards for sustainability, and improve stormwater management and biodiversity.