In March, The Ohio State University at Mansfield and North Central State College published the Mansfield Campus Framework Plan, an extensive look at how the campus’ 640 acres, buildings and academic missions might evolve in the next 50 years. Campus leaders promptly went to work, securing funding and creating partnerships of opportunity to support the plan. Their successes to date –
Enhancing campus access: Plans are moving forward to create a new front door for the Mansfield campus through solicitation for a criteria architect for the $1.5 million project. The Lexington-Springmill entrance will be relocated further south, connecting community and businesses to the campus and increasing visibility of the campus. The SR 39 entrance has been redefined as an environmental entrance. About 75 saplings, identified by the Extension study as natural species, were culled from campus acreage and replanted along the entrance.
Modernizing Student Life facilities: In addition to the Bromfield Library and Information Commons renovation, design has begun for $1.1 million renovation of the cafeteria in Eisenhower Hall in late 2014, restructuring the kitchen service area for better efficiency, and adding new finishes and furniture in the cafeteria and coffee house. University Dining Services began providing meal and food service for the Mansfield campus in July.
Addressing student housing needs: A desire for additional housing sparked the interest of University Housing Solutions, who has built off-campus housing in other areas of Ohio. The private venture just south of the campus on Lexington-Springmill Road, called Buckeye Village, broke ground in August. The foundation is laid for the first phase to be completed, with framing to begin soon, weather permitting. The first housing units are scheduled to open in August for 158 students.
Enhancing campus wayfinding: A new attractive full-width bridge across the stream behind Ovalwood Hall greets bikers and walkers as they enter the bike path to Molyet Village student housing, access to the athletic field and the wooded walking paths. The $72,000 project is wide enough for small maintenance equipment to cross; soon-to-be-added directional signage will enhance wayfinding.
Preserving wetlands and woodlands: Steps were taken this year to begin a comprehensive land-use management plan. Ohio State Extension and the School of Environment and Natural Resources have become integral partners in preparing a land resource inventory; a surprising find—more vernal pools than initially thought. Students in a May semester 2014 course will further refine the plan. Extension also called Mansfield campus home for the Ohio Woodland Stewards program, a living laboratory of classes geared towards Ohio’s 340,000 private woodlands landowners.