Construction commences on engineering complex

Posted: January 7, 2019
Exterior rendering of the new Biomedical and Materials Engineering Complex.

Construction is underway on the 124,000-square-foot Biomedical and Materials Engineering Complex (BMEC)—a state-of-the-art facility offering unlimited opportunity for discovery.

The $59.1 million project is a complete interior and exterior renovation fueled by sizeable investments from the state and university, plus a $10 million philanthropic target.

Scheduled to open in summer 2020, the complex will be home to the Departments of Biomedical Engineering and Materials Science and Engineering. BMEC will showcase the exceptional teaching and research happening in the heart of The Ohio State University’s Columbus campus, while inspiring life-saving, unprecedented advances in the rapidly growing field of biomaterials.

“This reimagined space will prepare Buckeye engineers to think creatively, problem solve and identify opportunities in ways that increase productivity, tackle global challenges and revolutionize products, services and systems like never before,” said Dean David B. Williams, the Monte Ahuja Endowed Dean’s Chair.

President Drake addresses alumni and friends gathered outside near the BMEC construction project.
President Michael V. Drake addresses alumni and friends at the BMEC groundbreaking. The building project is visible in the background.

Phase one construction will transform the aging engineering buildings on West 19th Avenue into a cutting-edge five-floor research and education powerhouse. It began in August 2018 with demolishing the high bay at the northwest end of 140 West 19th Avenue. A similarly sized addition will be built in its place, which will include a 150-seat auditorium.

University and college leaders and alumni celebrated the project’s launch on November 3, 2018 with a live (and loud!) demonstration of an explosive welding technology. Developed by Ohio State engineers, vaporizing foil actuator welding uses less than one-fifth the energy of common welding techniques while creating bonds that are 50 percent stronger.

Co-location of these two engineering departments and their close proximity to other campus collaborators will lead to even more life-changing materials innovations impacting health, transportation, energy and more.

“Sharing this new space allows for the development of strong, lasting collaborations, leading to new technical thrusts in which the two departments combine their best faculty to generate winning proposals to the federal government,” said Peter Anderson, chair of materials science and engineering.

The project will also enable the College of Engineering to meet a long-time goal of bringing the biomedical engineering academic program to central campus. Currently housed on West Campus, the move will benefit biomedical engineering students, and bring faculty and researchers closer to collaborators in the College of Medicine and Wexner Medical Center who help translate their technology to patients in a clinical environment.

View of interior atrium filled with spaces for students and faculty to meet, collaborate and learn.
The light-filled atrium includes 20 collaborative and huddle spaces shared by undergraduates, graduate students and faculty.

“For undergraduates, the location on central campus will be transformative,” said Biomedical Engineering Chair Samir Ghadiali. “With the Fisher College of Business across the street, there will be more opportunities for entrepreneurial collaboration. And with education on display in the atrium, the general public can see what biomedical engineering is all about.”

Designed with its users in mind, the complex will also promote 21st century teaching and learning.

Notable facilities include two undergraduate computer labs, an electronic instrumentation lab, research neighborhoods to enhance collaboration between engineering and medicine, huddle spaces for students and faculty, an area for creative collaboration, and private spaces where industry partners can present new products and exchange intellectual property ideas.

“BMEC will also provide new teaching labs and an instructional high bay area that will change the way we teach the materials science and welding engineering programs,” explained Anderson.

The building will also feature wide-open floor plates with moveable walls and modular equipment, so that over time space can be reconfigured to address evolving needs in research and education.

Interested in learning how to support this critical project? Contact Steve Crissinger, senior director of development for the college, at