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Drackett, Houck to close next year while 5 new buildings open

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Drackett Tower and Houck House will temporarily close this fall when four new residence halls are scheduled to open. Credit: Eric Weitz / Lantern reporter

Drackett Tower and Houck House will temporarily close this fall when four new residence halls are scheduled to open. Credit: Eric Weitz / Lantern reporter

When housing contracts are made available to students this year, two familiar buildings will be replaced by four new North Campus residence halls.

Drackett Tower and Houck House will temporarily close this fall when four new residence halls are scheduled to open.

“Drackett is going to be closed because of renovation work on the ground and first floors,” said Dave Isaacs, spokesman for the Office of Student Life.

Isaacs said the building will be closed while crews add office space and event space to the halls and complete renovations to the lobby and front desk areas.

“There is fairly extensive work going to be done on Drackett, enough that it was not feasible to house students in it,” he said.

In an email, Isaacs also said that renovation work on the entrances of nearby Taylor Tower and Jones Tower will be completed during summer 2016 when the buildings do not house students.

Construction will also close Houck House for the 2015-16 school year. Isaacs said work will not be done on Houck itself, but it will be closed because of construction near the building.

“Because of everything going on around (Houck), it was not feasible to have students come and go,” he said.

Isaacs said the buildings are expected to reopen in fall 2016.

Drackett Tower currently houses 768 residents with 40 vacant spots. All but four of Houck’s 189 spaces are occupied for the 2014-15 school year, Isaacs said.

With the addition of four residence halls, Isaacs said the university will be able to accommodate students who wish to live on campus while Drackett and Houck are closed during Autumn Semester 2015.

Kellon Hamsher, a first-year in engineering who lives in Drackett Tower, said she recently learned that Drackett would be closing, and although she did not plan on returning to Drackett before hearing the it will be closed, she still plans to live on campus next year.

“I was actually thinking of living in one of the new ones that they’re building next year,” she said. “I think it would be really cool to experience a new building in its first year.”

Isaacs said information about the new residence halls will be available when housing contracts are made available to students later this year.

A dining and event center is also scheduled to open on Woodruff Avenue this fall.

According to Ohio State’s “What’s Growing On” website, the building will house a 6,000 square-foot event center and a dining facility featuring a flatbread and sandwich station, a burrito station, a fruit and yogurt bar and a soup station.

The changes to North Campus are part of a university plan that aims to require second-year students to live on campus by fall 2016.

An overview of the $370 million North Residential District Transformation Plan indicates that the project will add 3,875 beds, 3,200 of which will be new and 675 of which will replace beds lost to demolition during the project, the website said.

Correction: Jan. 26, 2015

An earlier version of this article said four new buildings will be constructed on North Campus, when in fact five buildings will be built: four residence halls and one dining hall.

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