Biomedical and Materials Engineering Complex construction right on schedule

Posted: August 13, 2020
BMEC exterior looking south
The view from W. Woodruff Ave. in late July

Welcoming students and faculty to campus in the fall of 2020, phase one of The Biomedical and Materials Engineering Complex (BMEC)—the Mars G. Fontana Laboratories—will be the new home for two highly-ranked engineering departments. The project brings Biomedical Engineering from west campus to innovate and educate alongside Materials Science and Engineering, enabling both departments to significantly increase their undergrad and graduate student capacity.

“Even with a global pandemic, Ruscilli and Ohio State’s Facilities Operations and Development teams continued to work within the additional safety constraints required by the health crisis,” said Michael Hagenberger, associate dean for facilities and capital planning. Final life-safety inspections are occurring within the next couple of weeks, and employee move-in is scheduled to begin this week. Work will continue during move-in with final projects scheduled to complete in October.

Through this strategic co-location, the new Fontana Labs will amplify research and interdisciplinary collaboration, especially between engineering and medicine. The proximity of engineering prowess and world-class medical expertise positions The Ohio State University to become a leader in new biomaterial development and commercialization. Biomaterials science has advanced medical breakthroughs including tissue engineering, implantable drug delivery devices, stem cell scaffolds, joint replacement and biodegradable stents. The global market for biomaterials is projected to reach $115 billion by the end of 2020.

atrium under construction
Progress on the atrium as of late July

With phase one close to completion, the vision for the entire project is beginning to take shape. Phase two will help Ohio State reinvent the way it inspires and educates future Buckeye engineers. A key piece of this vision is to bring together the college’s highly ranked programs in advanced materials—chemical and biomolecular, ceramics, electrical, metallurgical, materials and biomedical engineering. No other university in the nation is doing this yet.

Faculty and students from these areas and others from across campus will come together in new collaborative spaces. They will work together with leading, practicing engineers in the heart of campus. First-year students will be drawn into “teaching labs of the future” from the day they arrive on campus, giving them rich, hands-on learning experiences and problem-solving skills. When complete, BMEC will spur new ways of conducting research, new improvements to human health and new partnerships to advance Ohio businesses.

In its final form and function, BMEC will have replaced four buildings that are significantly out of date. MacQuigg Laboratories, for example, was built in 1961—a year before John Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth, and 20 years before IBM released its first personal computer.

For a birds-eye view of the construction progress, check out the live webcam: