Within its Framework Plan, the Ohio State University has visions of constructing a new “Science and Technology Gateway” on what is currently the St. John Arena land parcel, and relocating CFAES into the district within the next 10 to 20 years. This district would be designed so that it could maximize educational opportunities by using the adjacent river corridor to create a dynamic learning environment.
A new Environment and Natural Resources facility will be located within the district (shown in the accompanying image). Aside from the traditional classroom and laboratory functions, this facility has the potential to integrate an Education and Outreach Center focused on local ecosystems and sustainability that can serve both the campus and Columbus community.
We suggest that the new facility feature a lobby that mimics the natural transition from a riparian to a riverine ecosystem as you move from the front to the back of the building. Educational signage can then be clustered where it is most relevant within an ecosystem, enabling visitors to exit to the corridor taking the information they learned with them.
This facility also has the potential to implement involvement programs and form strategic partnerships in an effort to get students and community members to participate in activities in the adjacent river corridor that foster will appreciation of the local ecosystems.
To this point, there has been very little discussion on this topic and there still needs to be considerable planning put forth in order to make this vision a reality. If implemented this center can provide an array of learning tools that help people connect local ecosystems and sustainability to the “bigger picture.” This new facility can serve as a “Gateway to the Olentangy Corridor” and serve as a model of education and design to the rest of the university.