Ohio State’s iconic Mirror Lake is one step closer to being fully functional again following a makeover aimed to improve its sustainability.
The OSU landmark is set to refill Wednesday morning with water from an underground well and will be completely full in about eight days, an OSU spokeswoman said in an email to The Lantern Tuesday.
The lake was drained in November to allow for work on a sustainability study that aimed to prevent water loss due to leaks in the lake’s structure. The study also addressed maintenance issues related to deterioration of the lake’s walls as well as determine if groundwater is a viable option to keep the lake full.
Columbus-based development and public works firm EMH&T conducted the study, which was set to cost $28,520, as reported by a Jan. 9 story by The Lantern.
The funds for the study were set to come from the President and Provost’s Council on Sustainability, which considers funding requests each year for various sustainability projects around campus.
The results of the study recommended considering a hard bottom solution for the lake to address leaks, Administration and Planning spokeswoman Alison Hinkle said in a July email.
Hard bottom solutions range from a simple patching of the leaks to a complete reconstruction of the lake’s bottom, Hinkle said.
The study also considered filling the lake with storm water, groundwater or the use of smart controls to reduce OSU’s water consumption.
“It was determined that storm water was not a feasible option and it was recommended to drill a groundwater well to assess the quality of the water for potential use to feed the lake,” Hinkle said.
Hinkle responded to a Tuesday email saying she’s working on answers regarding if groundwater is the final solution to keeping the lake full, if a final design was chosen for the lake, the cost of the renovation and if it will be functional in time for the annual “Mirror Lake Jump.”
As part of a long-standing tradition, OSU students jump into Mirror Lake the Tuesday before the annual football game against Michigan.
In March, an open house and visual preference survey were held to provide students, faculty, staff and alumni the opportunity to weigh in on design concepts for Mirror Lake.
A design had not been chosen as of late July.
Gravel was poured into Mirror Lake in May to reduce the depth of its deep end to 5 feet as part of an interim measure toward making the lake more sustainable.
Landscape architecture firm MKSK is working with OSU to help design the updated Mirror Lake.
The firm originally selected by OSU, EDGE Group, a local firm of landscape architects and development consultants 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,” former Administration and Planning spokeswoman Lindsay Komlanc said in an email in December.
This story was updated on Aug.12, 2014. An earlier version said Mirror Lake would start to refill on Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2014. After the story was published, OSU spokeswoman Alison Hinkle said she learned it would actually be refilled Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014.