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The eyesore of campus was worth the wait.
After two long years of construction, Ohio State students came back to Columbus to the completed improvements of the Historic Mirror Lake District.
The project redesigned Mirror Lake and the surrounding green area, renovated and modernized Pomerene Hall, and refinished Browning Amphitheater. The budget for the upgrades amassed a total of almost $70 million.
The project also improved the natural landscape around the area, replacing the concrete that ran around the perimeter of the lake with gardens and shrubs. Two outlooks were also installed, allowing passerbyers to take a breath and enjoy the beauty of Ohio State’s campus. The natural setting of mirror lake with the grand, newly renovated Pomerene Hall makes this area south of the Oval one of the best spots on campus.
“I think the biggest change in my mind is it is going to look a lot more open than it did before." said Steve Volkmann, University Landscape Architect for the Mirror Lake project, in a July interview with Ohio State News. "We’ve pulled some of the perimeter planting back and we’ll be planting the lake edge."
Mirror Lake now offers a quick-drain function and a gradual decline to the water from the shore to serve as additional safety precautions for students. The tragic death of Austin Singletary in 2015 prompted these changes. Ohio State recently added a bench on Neil Avenue that honors Singletary.
Pomerene Hall, originally built in 1922, overlooks the lake. The aging building finally received the renovations it so desperately deserved and will now be the home for faculty of data analytics, linguistics, and history of art.
The updated building has kept its character after the renovations but contains some modern additions, including a floor-to-ceiling glass atrium on the east side of the building. The original hardware was kept as much as possible while upgrading to new workspaces and labs, giving Pomerene Hall the best possible combination of classic architecture and cutting-edge technology.
Pomerene Hall also improved a campus-favorite dining option — Mirror Lake Eatery. The new location features fried chicken and milkshakes, making the Eatery a popular choice for underclassmen on a meal plan.
All good things, however, come with a cost. Even before the fences around Mirror Lake came down, the ground of the Oval was broken for a new project to fix the underground tunnels beneath campus.