Daniel Chi / Asst. photo editor
Campus construction has made some university tours problematic as high school students begin their college visits for the next school year. However, instead of running from this potential problem, university officials are embracing the idea of a bigger and better Ohio State.
“We prefer to have a proactive, rather than reactive, approach,” said Tim Collins, OSU students and university ambassador in an email. “Any time we are around a worksite, we point it out, talk about what is being done and give a timetable as to when the prospective students should expect to see completion and can begin utilizing the new area.”
A university ambassador is the name for a student who is employed to give tours to prospective OSU students.
OSU has undergone rigorous changes over the past three years. Some speculate that the ongoing construction might have a negative impact on potential students who visit campus. However, Ebony Smith, the program coordinator for campus tours and visits, said the university will not shy away from the projects under way.
“We are very up front about the fact that we have construction and we choose to see it as a positive,” Smith said. “The fact that Ohio State is investing in their students is how our tour guides choose to talk about it.”
The construction has not been seen as a deterrent by some university staff, but it has created minor obstacles for visitors.
“Due to road closures or building outages, this has caused us to slightly modify our tour routes,” Collins said in an email. “However, it has not at all taken away from the quality of the tour nor the information and message that all students and families are eager to hear on their visit to Ohio State.”
Collins said in the email that it is usually not the prospective students who are bothered by the orange barrels and loud noises.
“Parents are often our most inquisitive visitors,” said Collins. “So concern about navigating a campus with construction has been expressed more by them than the students.”
Dakota Williams, a first-year in business, took a campus visit last spring and said the ongoing construction did not affect his decision to attend OSU.
“At the time I visited, I actually don’t believe I noticed the construction on campus very much,” Williams said via email. “I think that most of campus is very nice and that although the construction is a bit of an eye-sore now, it will pay off and look very nice once it is completed.”
If there are students who are crossing off OSU on their college lists, the construction around campus might not be the main reason.
“I don’t have the impression that construction is driving people away at all,” Smith said. “We have definitely not seen a decline in the number of visitors nor have we seen a decline in students and also the quality of students. We still continue going up with our admissions, ACT, test scores and all of those markers for students … Construction has not impacted in that way at all.”
President E. Gordon Gee told The Lantern editorial staff in February that the construction did make it hard to get around, but it is part of the bigger picture of OSU’s future.
“We have more construction than we possibly could imagine,” Gee said. “More than $2 billion worth, I can’t get around, but I always remind you that you never want to be at a place (that doesn’t have) a lot of cranes.”