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$7.7 million renovation, refreshes Mason Hall

Cody Cousino / Photo editor

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Renovations have been completed that make Mason Hall, part of the Fisher College of Business, more efficient for students. Planning for the project began two years ago when Ohio State libraries decided to consolidate the business collection in the William Oxley Thompson Memorial Library in June 2009.

Construction on the project, which is being funded by the Fisher College of Business general budget, began at the end of Winter Quarter 2011 and is estimated to cost just under $7 million, according to David Greenberger, chair of the Department of Management and Human Resources and the Fisher project leader.

Greenberger said that after assessing the needs of students, faculty and staff, the college realized they had a lack of classroom space, faculty offices, administrative offices and areas for students to meet and work collaboratively.

Other problems that Mason Hall faced before the building renovation included lack of study space and meeting rooms, insufficient acoustics and out-of-date facilities.

The project’s goal was to meet as many needs as possible while maintaining how students previously used the space to work and study, Greenberger said.

“It was crucial to provide new spaces for students to work independently, but also include collaborative spaces that are necessary in today’s business and academic world,” Greenberger said.

The only sections of the building not renovated are the basement labs and information technology offices, Greenberger said.

The first floor now boasts a reading room in the rotunda, the new Rohr Café that serves Starbucks’ coffee and snacks, two conference rooms, 21 breakout rooms and many quiet spaces for groups and single studiers alike. Students will also be able to reserve rooms for studying or meetings.

On the second floor, a multipurpose room for lectures, meetings, dinners and quiet studying was added. Office space has also been added for various centers including the Center for Entrepreneurship, the International Programs Office, Fisher Professional Services and Innovation Initiative.

The third floor has a new space for market and small group researchers and the fourth floor classroom has been expanded and is now ADA-compliant, meaning the classrooms are now wheelchair accessible. Outside, there is now a landscaped courtyard with tables, umbrellas and power outlets.

Current students and graduates alike say they are impressed with the renovations.

Justin Myers, who graduated from OSU in 2010 with a degree in economics, works at the new

Rohr Café.

“I studied here when I was an undergraduate,” Myers said. “When I came back after the renovations, I didn’t even recognize the place. It looks great.”

Xin Qu, a third-year in accounting, said that she would study at Mason more than the other libraries on campus.

“The new stuff is really cool,” Qu said. “I’m a business major and it’s conveniently close to my home.”

According to Greenberger, the theme of the renovations was focusing on energy, collaboration and flexibility.

“Increasingly, organizations are utilizing collaborative tools and we are naturally translating this into how we teach our business students,” Greenberger said. “When you think of a high-tech firm, the image you have is one of people meeting informally, discussing issues, often with coffee and technology enabling the process. We wanted to mimic this in our buildings.”

The building officially opened on Friday, Sept. 16, with a ceremony attended by Ray Mason III, the son of alumnus Major General Raymond E. Mason Jr., after whom the building was originally named.

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