Easy Columbus: Ohio Union

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

For three years now, Ohio State has gone without a student union, traditionally a place to hang out between classes. It was worth the wait - the new Ohio Union, unveiled this week, is a stunning space students may never want to leave.

The $118 million, 318,000-square-foot building at the corner of High Street and 12th Avenue is intended to function as a "campus living room" for the entire community. Offering new dining options, more than 30 meeting and event spaces, and the second-largest ballroom in Central Ohio, the union was designed with input from students, staff and faculty.

And it was designed specifically for Ohio State. From the moment you pull open the OH-IO door handles, you'll know you're at OSU. Subtle details like Block O sconces and Script Ohio tiling honor the university's rich tradition.

Hungry visitors can grab classic diner favorites at the 1950s-style Sloopy's Diner, wood-fired pizzas and Ohio-made beer and wine at Woody's Tavern, and made-to-order dishes at the Union Market.

The union boasts an impressive collection of art from students, staff and alumni, on display in lounges, hallways and various meeting spaces. The second-floor lounge showcases stained glass inspired by images of campus, while the building's exterior incorporates limestone panel reliefs saved from the old Ohio Union plus two new commissioned reliefs.

The old Ohio Union, opened in 1951, was a state-of-the-art facility that provided a wide array of social and recreational activities, designed to be a gathering place for students. And the new building is intended to be the same.

The university's hundreds of student organizations will have access to 80 computer-equipped offices as well as meetings spaces. Student groups will also be able to use new high-tech LCD projectors, video conferencing, smart boards and more than 90 HD televisions throughout the building.

The 18,000-square-foot Archie M. Griffin Grand Ballroom can seat up to 1,200 people for banquets and more for concerts and other events.

The building was designed to be sustainable, incorporating innovations like a pulper to convert food and other waste to fertilizer, and a system to recycle vegetable oil into biodiesel used to fuel campus buses.

Rachel Sova is a senior Journalism major at Ohio State University

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