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Schottenstein Center construction to improve fan experience

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A view of the southern part of the Schottenstein Center from Lane Avenue. Credit: William Kosileski / Lantern Reporter

A view of the southern part of the Schottenstein Center from Lane Avenue. Credit: William Kosileski / Lantern Reporter

Guests and fans at the Schottenstein Center will find themselves in a changing space starting in 2016.

Renovations will be made to the sports and concert venue, and are expected to be complete in 2018.

“We’re committed to providing the best guest experience that we can,” said Mike Penner, senior associate athletic director at the OSU Department of Athletics. “We think that the improvements we are making to the Schottenstein Center will improve the guest experience.”

The project, which was approved by OSU’s Board of Trustees in an August meeting, has a total budget of $32 million, which will be paid with university debt and development funds, according to meeting notes.

Construction includes renovations to the concourse, the creation of new offices for sports programs, aligning the building with the attached practice gym, and relocating the ticket office and the team store.

“The Schott welcomes 800,000 to 900,000 people a year,” Penner said. “(The renovations) will widen the concourses, brighten it up a bit and improve the concourse to allow fans to have a better experience.”

In the effort to widen the concourse, Penner said it will be necessary to relocate and create new offices for the men’s and women’s basketball teams.

The offices will be moved from their current location on the south side of the building to the northwest quadrant of the building in order to be closer to the practice gym.

“The new practice gym, which was completed in 2013, is located on the northwest corner of the building. It extends more north than the rest of the main arena building,” Penner said. “The new concourse project will align the north side of the main arena building with the already completed practice gym.”

In addition to these improvements, Penner said that the project will provide more “visibility and functionality” for the ticket office and the team store, as both will be moved to the north side of the building to be more accessible and closer to the parking lot.

Ryan Murphy, a second-year in computer science, has attended several events at the Schottenstein Center, including OSU basketball and hockey games. He said he thinks that the renovations will benefit fans.

“I feel like moving the ticket window and making the concourse more open is something that makes sense,” he said. “When it is packed and it is winter, it will make it more convenient to get tickets instead of walking all the way around the building.”

Another student, Alec Scaffidi, a second-year in business, also sees this construction project as a positive change.

“Any time you make any kind of renovation to anything, it should improve the fan experience,” he said. “I think that it will draw more fans, and I think it will give the Schott a better look.”

Penner said that the goal right now is to have an architect and a construction manager for the project at the beginning of 2016, and to have it completed in 2018.

“I would say that the 800,000 to 900,000 fans having a good experience will be great exposure for the university,” Penner said. “I think that this will shine a bright light on the university.”

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