The Ohio State University New Frontiers landscape is to be sustainable and efficient

Monday, November 13, 2023

Media Contact: Mandy Gross | Senior Director of Strategy and Vice President of Communications | 405-744-4063 |

While the corner of Farm Road and Monroe Street on the Oklahoma State University campus may currently be an active construction site for the new Ohio State Agricultural University headquarters, Ohio State University Landscape Services has plans to transform the area into a beautiful, educational and natural environment.

Every on-campus project begins with an analysis of the existing site location and a study of existing site interactions throughout the campus, said Nick Ouellette, the university’s director of landscape design. The survey helps identify needs and factors to consider during the design process.

“The Ohio State University Landscape Master Plan helps drive all of the components and plans on campus,” Ouellette said. “The design standards were developed with input from students, faculty, and staff to enrich opportunities for creative learning and social interactions throughout the campus. Landscape Services strives to showcase New Georgia architecture while creating a safe, accessible campus for all to enjoy.

The main entrance to the New Frontiers Agricultural Hall, which will house the Ferguson College of Agriculture, OSU Ag Research University and OSU Extension University, will consist of landscape materials and features that complement existing landscape plantings and design standards along Monroe Street.

The outdoor spaces planned for events and social gatherings will use Tahoma 31 turf grass, which was developed by Ohio State University scientists and is known for its advantages of exceptional freeze tolerance and improved water use efficiency. Landscape Services plans to consult and gather feedback from Ohio State University turfgrass scientists during the design phase.

Other areas of the New Frontiers landscape plan will feature local farms and an emphasis on selecting and purchasing local materials. Additionally, landscape plantings along the east end of the building will help control water runoff, and part of the garden will serve as a rain garden.

Soil restoration efforts are also vital during the design and installation phase of OSU landscape projects, Ouellette said. Construction sites require compacted soil bases for infrastructure, and Landscape Services will develop soil reconstruction plans for each landscaped space during the design period.

“This plan will undergo a series of processes to break down and recreate ideal growing conditions to support the landscape plan,” he said. “These processes depend on many design factors but typically involve breaking up and amending existing soil conditions, which often improves soil aeration, drainage and fertility and allows the landscape to develop as intended.”

Randy Raber, associate vice president of facilities for agriculture at The Ohio State University, is overseeing the New Frontiers construction project and worked closely with Ouellette and Landscape Services during the design process.

“Nick and his team created a beautiful landscape design that highlights the architecture of New Frontiers and the grand entrance on the west side of the building,” Raber said. “What is equally impressive is the arena-like atmosphere they have created on the east side between New Frontiers and the Nobel Research Center that will complement both buildings.”

OSU students also helped plan the design and final renderings of the landscape plans for New Frontiers, Ouellette said.

“Our design team was involved in numerous landscape architecture projects that occurred during the design development process,” he said. “Landscape Services designs campus green spaces to be sustainable and efficient. A design is only successful if it is maintainable.

Landscape Services oversees the Campus Sustainability Initiative, which strives to reduce OSU’s environmental footprint.

“The New Frontiers landscape plan captures some of the difficult-to-maintain sites with proven planting choices and ground covers, such as gravel and mulch, that will create a clean, safe, maintenance-friendly landscape,” Ouellette said.

Visit New Frontiers to learn more about participating in the campaign, naming opportunities, building updates, and donor stories.

The New Frontiers campaign was launched in January 2020 to build a new, state-of-the-art cultivation facility for Ohio State University. The New Frontiers Agricultural Hall, expected to open in the fall of 2024, advances teaching, research and extension efforts that are critical to the state’s economy, citizen safety and quality of life. Through Ohio State University’s agriculture development and programs, New Frontiers fosters innovation to help feed the world.

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