Though its demolition has, at points, looked inevitable, Ohio State University says it has no plans to tear down St. John Arena.
St. John Arena has not hosted basketball since the late 1990’s, but the venerable facility remains open for some of Ohio State’s other programs–including wrestling, gymnastics, and volleyball. Those teams are slated to move into Covelli Arena, a venue that is currently being planned and is projected to open in the fall of 2018.
Given that factor, combined with a master plan from Ohio State that called for other development, it has long been believed that St. John Arena is going to be demolished. However, university officials say that removing St. John Arena is neither as easy nor as practical as was once believed. More from The Columbus Dispatch:
“A lot of things have happened” since the 2010 plan, said Keith Myers, OSU’s associate vice president for planning and real estate. Tearing down St. John “is an assumption that got challenged in the course of this project,” Myers said.
It turns out that St. John houses the mechanical systems for its immediate neighbors, French Field House and the OSU ice rink, and it can’t be torn down without taking them with it.
Moreover, Myers said, the FAES college has done its own planning and now prefers to stay at its current location, between the Olentangy River and Route 315.
Planners also are mindful that St. John, site of the Buckeyes’ 1960 NCAA men’s basketball championship season, is important to the university’s culture and history, spokesman Chris Davey said.
St. John Arena does certainly offers its fair share of history. The venue first opened for basketball in the fall of 1956, and was home to both the men’s and women’s programs until Valley City Arena opened in 1998.