A new firm has been identified and the price tag has gone up for a study of Mirror Lake’s leaks and overflows after the original firm left its contract to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest.
EMH&T, a Columbus-based development and public works firm, is now set to conduct the sustainability study, which is slated to cost $4,520 more because extra work was added to “determine if groundwater is a viable option to feed the lake,” OSU spokeswoman for Administration and Planning Lindsay Komlanc said in an email Thursday.
The study is set to cost $28,520, up from $24,000, she said.
The funds are slated to come from the President and Provost’s Council on Sustainability, which considers funding requests each year for various sustainability projects around campus.
Komlanc said work to “test groundwater could commence this week – weather dependent, but is more likely next week based on this week’s forecasts.”
The purchase order was issued Jan. 3, she said.
Mirror Lake was drained after the Mirror Lake jump Nov. 26. Jumping in Mirror Lake before the OSU football game against the University of Michigan is an school tradition. This year, after OSU officials announced students would be required to wear wristbands and pass through fences for admittance, some students took to the lake a night early to show their disapproval of the regulations.
The firm originally selected by OSU, EDGE Group, which was founded by former OSU football player and assistant vice president for business advancement Eddie George, backed out of its contract to “avoid even the appearance of impropriety,” Komlanc said in an email Dec. 2.
EDGE Group is a local firm of landscape architects and development consultants founded by George. The firm was set to help address several issues of the campus landmark, including options for fixing the leak, maintenance considerations and alternative sources to fill the lake, Aparna Dial, director of OSU energy services and sustainability, told The Lantern in late November.
Komlanc was not able to immediately provide details about the selection process and how many other firms were considered Thursday afternoon.
The total cost of the 2013 Mirror Lake jump, including cleanup, logistics, operations and security, is not yet available, she said.
The 2012 jump cost OSU more than $46,000, including public safety presence and repairs to the area.