When Ohio State students returned to campus this fall, many may have noticed a few buildings are now called by different names than when Spring Semester ended.
The Hale Black Cultural Center at OSU has moved to the structure formerly known as Enarson Hall as part of a $1.2 million renovation project that included the relocation of three other university offices to the building, and Central Classrooms Building was renamed Enarson Classrooms Building.
OSU spokeswoman Liz Cook said in an email all departments within the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, along with the offices of the Vice Provost for Diversity and Inclusion and the Office for Outreach and Engagement, have been relocated to the newly renamed Hale Hall.
Discussions for the renovations and demolition took place over the past five years as part of a plan to establish student services and resources in a single building, one which also served as the first student union at a public university, Cook said.
“The overarching goal implements a strategic plan that collaboratively and uniformly develops the physical environment of our campus for the next several decades, while streamlining the location of key academic units,” Cook said.
The demolition of the former Hale Hall, which began in July, cost approximately $750,000, OSU spokeswoman for Administration and Planning Lindsay Komlanc said in an email. This included backfilling the area and placing the grass after the building, foundation and loading dock were removed.
Its former location is set to be used to develop green space for students and will eventually include sidewalks and picnic tables. A plaque commemorating the original Hale Center location will also be placed in the area.
The renovations project, which began at the end of April and was completed in June, features a number of updates to the former Enarson Hall, Komlanc said. Additions include the Frank W. Hale Jr. Civil Rights Library, Martin Luther King Jr. high-ceiling auditorium and lounge, new meeting spaces and new restrooms.
Other features include new gallery spaces, paint, carpet and flooring, a new fire alarm system and technology in the conference rooms.
Phillip Mayo, program manager in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, said he has been pleased with the move and looks forward to its possibilities.
“I think being in an historic building gives us a unique opportunity to work more closely with our colleagues in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion,” he said.
Mayo said student reactions to the change have been rather positive as well.
Second-year in pre-business Le’Asia Gaines said while she likes the new Hale Hall, it will take her some time to get comfortable.
“Switching over, I’m still getting used to everything, but it’s bigger and I like it,” she said. “It offers us a lot more. I just have to get used to the hominess.”
Kato Mitchell, a third-year in sports industry, said he too is still adjusting to the center’s new location.
“It don’t feel like home yet or nothing just because we spent so much time at the other one, it’s like the first one we really knew about,” Mitchell said. “I guess once time goes on and everything, it’ll get better and feel more like home.”
A ribbon cutting ceremony for Hale Hall is scheduled for 2 p.m. Sept. 20.