OU’s Clippinger Laboratories Could Be Demolished

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Ohio University could be bidding adieu to the Clippinger Laboratories building in the next few years as the university looks to construct a new interdisciplinary science facility.

During a conference call with media representatives Thursday, OU Associate Vice President for Facilities Harry Wyatt said there’s a strong possibility that Clippinger — located on South Green Drive across the street from Ping Recreation Center — could be demolished as the university looks to create an updated facility.

According to Wyatt, the university’s six-year capital improvement plan lays out a $45 million project to build a new interdisciplinary science facility. The capital improvement plan also allocates $45 million to renovate Clippinger Hall. However, after doing more research into the projects, Wyatt said the university decided it would be more effective to combine the two projects to invest in a larger facility to replace Clippinger altogether — which would allocate $90 million for such an endeavor. Wyatt emphasized that the $90 million allocated in the capital improvement plan is a preliminary figure.

The Clippinger Laboratories building was opened in 1967. While there have been some renovations over the years, Wyatt said there has never been a complete overhaul of the building’s operating systems. He said the life expectancy of the systems in the 46-year-old building was 25-30 years.

Wyatt said the university is currently looking to select a design firm to begin designing a new facility, which he said would likely be bigger than Clippinger. He said a higher level of planning is required for a facility that will house intense research and laboratory space.

The university is hoping the new facility will allow for better collaborations between OU’s science, engineering and medical colleges.

According to Wyatt, a site for the new interdisciplinary science facility has not been selected, but noted that the West Green near OU’s medical and engineering schools is a possibility.

On Thursday, Wyatt said the design phase should start at the beginning of 2014 with construction starting in mid-2015. He said it’s the university’s hope to have the facility open by mid-2017.

As for Clippinger, Wyatt said the facility will likely be demolished after the new facility is opened. He said there are no firm plans for the Clippinger site yet, noting that the building is situated between academic facilities and the location where OU is constructing a residence hall. The university’s master housing plan shows a “sweeping green” area that will run throughout campus, including in front of Clippinger.

“It’s a very strategic, opportunistic site,” Wyatt said.

Wyatt said he and OU officials will discuss the project — as well as other projects within the six-year capital improvement plan — with the university’s board of trustees in October.