OU Wants To Build Storage And Auxiliaries Centers

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Ohio University has proposed a $16.7 million project to construct an auxiliaries center on West Union Street and for long-term storage at the OU Airport in Albany. However, the university’s board of trustees had a bit of sticker shock with the cost of the project on Thursday and requested that it be tabled until at least June.

During Thursday’s OU Board of Trustees Resources Committee meeting, OU Planner Shawna Bolin and Associate Vice President for Auxiliaries Gwyn Scott brought forward the proposed project.

The proposal calls for construction of a new 49,400-square-foot facility on West Union Street — across the street from Larry’s Dawg House — that would include a central receiving area, short-term storage and space for the following Auxiliary units: printing services, mail services, moving, culinary services’ central offices and a new surplus store.

Additionally, the proposal calls for a 33,000-square-foot, long-term storage facility at the OU Airport.

According to Bolin, the university currently has no official storage space so items are stored in multiple buildings across campus. The two proposed facilities would provide climate controlled short- and long-term storage, allowing the university to better utilize space on the core campus.

Currently, the university’s mail, moving and printing departments are housed at The Ridges. Those facilities are in disrepair and the departments need updated or new space, according to Vice President for Finance and Personnel Stephen Golding.

The West Union Street building is expected to cost $11.3 million and the one at the airport is expected to cost $5.4 million. On Thursday, the board was asked to approve $1,550,000 for design of the two buildings.

Trustees Peggy Viehweger and David Wolfort expressed concern about the high price tag for the project. Wolfort said he didn’t think what will essentially be warehouse space should cost that much to construct.

After receiving feedback from the Resources Committee, Golding said the request for design money will be tabled until the board’s June meeting to allow the trustees time to further examine the proposal and ask questions. However, Golding said that too much of a delay would have a domino effect and delay other projects, such as the relocation of those services at The Ridges.

“It’s the chicken/egg situation we’ve been wrestling with for the past year,” Golding said.