Kaitlyn Lyle / Lantern reporter
Ohio State is moving one of its offices to the South Campus Gateway at the cost of $1.9 million.
OSU’s Office of Technology Commercialization and Knowledge Transfer is set to take over the long-vacated space on the corner of 9th Avenue and High Street.
The office takes the place of what was the Sunflower Market, an organic grocery store owned and operated by Supervalu, Inc.
The Sunflower Market went out of business in January 2008, but remained in a lease with the South Campus Gateway. The market continued to pay rent while attempting to lease the space to another vendor, Erin Prosser, director of marketing and community relations for Campus Partners, said in an email.
Campus Partners is an urban-development company that partners with the university and the city to revitalize the city.
Construction on OSU’s new offices began Oct. 3, and is set to be completed this winter, Prosser said.
“We’re tentatively slated to occupy the facility at the end of December,” said Kelly Des Roches, special assistant to the vice president of technology commercialization.
GMH Inc. is renovating and constructing the new offices, with assistance from Ohio Electric Services and Muetzel Plumbing & Heating.
Though the offices will be new, the department itself is not new to campus.
The department is responsible for taking research done and inventions made at the university and assessing them from a marketable, business standpoint.
“When we say technology, we mean it in the broadest sense. It’s not what you’d think of as IT, it could be any technology, food science, engineering, human ecology, medicine, etc.,” Des Roches said.
Technology disclosed to the department is marketed through the office. The office then handles patents and licensing for the products.
The Office of Technology Commercialization and Knowledge Transfer also handles revenue received and royalties to be paid for products, according to the department website.
“Any researchers on campus, faculty, students, that come up with … an invention, some type of discovery, they disclose it to our office. And then our staff works with them to decide whether or not it’s worth patenting … and then also whether or not it has the makings of a start-up company,” Des Roches said.
The marketing aspect of the department means that it reports directly to OSU’s Chief Financial Officer, Geoffrey Chatas, something different from technology offices on other campuses, according to Des Roches.
The department recently underwent a renovation of another kind in March when a new Vice President of Technology Commercialization was named. Brian Cummings, formerly of the University of Utah, was officially given the job in June, according to an OSU press release.
Ohio State is ranked in the top 10 universities in research expenditures with $756 million spent on research in 2010 alone. According to an OSU press release, the university is the second most industry-sponsored in research.
Cummings was given the task of making OSU’s technology commercialization department as successful as the University of Utah’s.
The new offices will be closer to campus from the Office of Technology Commercialization and Knowledge Transfer’s current offices at 1216 Kinnear Road.
Des Roches said that the department decided to move the offices into the Gateway, rather than campus, because space on campus is already limited.
“It’s close enough to campus where you could walk … it’s just a little easier to get to engage the faculty and staff that we want to engage,” Des Roches said.
The move was approved this summer, said Des Roches, with the university working with an architect and contractor to formulate a plan to move the department in about six months.
The department is no stranger to moving. Initially, it was part of the Office of Research, before moving to the Fisher College of Business and finally settling at its current position as part of the Office of Business and Finance.
The construction budget for the move to the Gateway is $1.2 million.
This doesn’t cover other costs like furnishing the new space. Des Roches said the department is attempting to use some of the furniture at the current office, but will inevitably encounter some cost.
Overall, moving the office is costing the university $1.9 million, said Des Roches.
“I know it’s going to be a place for the administrative level, but students will be highly involved as well,” Prosser said. “They’re designing an environment to foster idea formation and creativity…not just a straight office.”