Bromfield Library Under Construction, Re-Opening This Spring

Dream becomes reality as the Bromfield Library and Information Commons renovation nears completion. Funded, in large part, by community donors through the But for Ohio State Mansfield campaign, the $3 million project is scheduled for completion in March, 2014, with a rededication ceremony in April.

Designed for community and campus, according to Susan Delagrange, Director of the Information Commons, the collaborative space fulfills traditional library and research roles as well as functioning as a comfortable informal area for faculty, students and the public to meet.

“We wanted to create a technology-rich open environment that was conducive to flexible learning,” said Brian White, superintendent, Mansfield Campus Plant Operations and Maintenance.

Shared by Ohio State Mansfield and North Central State College, the 23,000-square-foot space will include a library instruction classroom and six private group study rooms, as well as collaborative seating areas throughout the space. Faculty will have use of a media center with a sound studio to create multimedia for classroom use and distance learning courses.

A trio of help desks will also be located in the open-plan Library and Information Commons, says Pam Benjamin, Director of the Library, to assist students with reference, research, writing and technology questions.

“There’s nothing else like this in Mansfield,” said Dean and Director Stephen Gavazzi. “Our students will have access to the resources they need to help them succeed in college and beyond.”

Through a generous grant from the Richland County Foundation, planners also were able to include a high-tech learning collaborative classroom in the Information Commons. Gone are lectures from podiums; instructors will encourage team-based learning and problem-solving from anywhere in the classroom.

“The skills that are required for these activities are the most sought-after by employers,” says Joseph Fahey, professor, Theatre. This model of self-directed and peer-oriented learning is the new direction in higher education. It is the key to preparing our students to be leaders in their fields, their institutions and their communities.”

Framework Plan Implementation Transforming Mansfield Campus

A new bridge behind Ovalwood Hall connects Mansfield campus with Molyet Village housing, the athletic fields and walking and bike paths.

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.

The original bridge

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.