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Students build legacy by signing building beam

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With some holding umbrellas to shield the cool spring rain, students and faculty stood waiting to leave their mark on Ohio State on Monday.

About 100 attendees gathered behind Younkin Success Center to sign the beam that will become the final building block of the William H. Hall residential complex expansion project on Ohio State’s South Campus.

The Board of Trustees reported last week that the project, which is expected to be completed in August 2012, is on time and on budget. The board approved a $51.1 million budget.

Students, faculty, construction employees and anyone involved with the project were encouraged to come sign the beam, said Molly Ranz Calhoun, assistant vice president at the Office of Student Life and host of the “Leave Your Mark” event. Eventually, the signed beam will be built into the new building, Ranz-Calhoun said.

“I think an event like this is important when you’re involved in long term projects to periodically stop and say thanks to those involved,” said Ruth Gerstner, the director of communications for the Office of Student Life. “Also, it’s a chance to thank students for their patience and allow them a chance to leave their mark on the building.”

The Office of Student Life sponsored the event that was kicked off with a few words from Javaune Adams-Gaston, vice president for the Office of Student Life, along with chief housing officer Fred Fotis and the Residence Hall Advisory Council president Lauren Slemenda.

Each briefly addressed what the meaning of the construction and expansion means to the community at Ohio State.

“I’ve been involved in putting together the plans for this now for a couple of years,” said Slemenda, a fourth-year in music. “To me, this event really signifies how committed the administration is to the experience here at Ohio State.”

Adams-Gaston was not immediately available for comment.

For students such as James DeGraw, a first-year in international studies and real estate, this proves Ohio State’s devotion to helping students have the best possible experience here.

“Having lived on campus this year and with continuing to in the future, I just see the need for continually updating of the older buildings, and clearly the university values that as much as we (the students) do,” DeGraw said.

The beam will be built into the hall complex when it nears completion before Fall Quarter 2012. Once the hall opens, the signatures will be visible within the building, Ranz Calhoun said.

The William H. Hall residence hall expansion is a part of the south campus community renovation, including the new high-rise dorms as well as the renovation of Kennedy Commons Dining Hall. Kennedy Commons is set to open this autumn, while the complete renovation should be finished by Autumn 2012 when Ohio State changes to semesters, Ranz-Calhoun said.

“(The event) is symbolic in demonstrating how the administration wants the student opinion and interaction, especially with the continual growth of the university in order to become bigger and better than ever before,” DeGraw said. 

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