On a campus that is constantly rebuilding and redesigning, St. John Arena will have to wait for its fate as members of the Board of Trustees decided to hold off on a decision for its demolition.
In 2010, the Board of Trustee’s framework plans called for St. John Arena to be taken down to add space for a multitude of building options including a new athletics recreation center or more buildings for academics. But on Thursday, the board decided it needs to re-evaluate its proposed plans for the arena on account of the building’s major impact on campus.
St. John Arena, which first opened its doors in 1956, was the home of many Ohio State athletic teams, including both men’s and women’s basketball, and is currently home to both the men’s and women’s gymnastics team, men’s and women’s volleyball team and the wrestling team. In addition to the athletic events held in the arena, students and faculty utilize its parking lot during school hours.
The arena also runs the mechanical systems for the French Field House and the OSU Ice Rink.
The board had originally proposed three ideas for the arena’s space, with two of the options giving campus a large academic building or splitting the land for both a new academic building and a new athletics field house. The third proposed idea also added a new academic building to the site, but preserved St. John Arena with renovations.
Board member Alex Fischer, president and CEO of Columbus Partnership, suggested repurposing the arena by using expertise from around the country.
Citing that the build will take up to 25 to 50 years to develop, members of the board said they felt it is vital they preserve what they feel is important.
“You wouldn’t want to wake up one day and say, ‘Why the hell did we build that there?’,” board member Robert Schottenstein said during the meeting.