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onCampus--Ohio State's faculty/staff news

Vol. 38, No. 18

By: Richard Gillette

Roof raised in Fry Hall

Three new floors give additional research space to College of Optometry

If Glenn Fry were alive today, he would smile to see the new research lab that once housed his office when he directed the College of Optometry.

The expansive lab is the result of a 13,000-square-foot addition to Fry Hall, home of the College of Optometry for more than 50 years.

Three new floors, now designated as the E.F. Wildermuth Optometric Research Clinic, have been added to the west side of the three-story building named after the longtime former director. Fry established the university’s vision science graduate program in the 1930s.

“Dr. Fry would be pleased with what we have been able to add to this building. He was very much a promoter of research in our field,” said Karla Zadnik, associate dean of research and graduate studies in the College of Optometry.

The clinic was built because the college, one of only 17 optometry programs in the country, needed additional research space and had cramped classrooms and patient clinics.

The new fourth floor will house pediatric clinical research and related faculty/staff labs and offices. A large waiting room for parents and a children’s playroom give the floor a patient-friendly atmosphere.

Adult clinical research will be performed on the fifth floor with related labs and offices; and the sixth floor has two conference rooms as well as offices for faculty, graduate students and support personnel.

The new floors will accommodate the large influx of clinical research that has come to the college in the past decade. Zadnik said 10 years ago the college performed research through funding from two National Institutes of Health grants. Today, 14 NIH grants fund research at the college.

“This space will be the home for clinical research, and it will open up other space in the building for clinical care and education that had been used by the clinical research groups,” Zadnik said.

The expansion has allowed faculty performing similar research to be placed in offices on the same floor. Jason Nichols, an expert in cornea, tear film and contact lens topics, said the interaction will help research efforts.

“It really makes sense from the standpoint of the types of research we do. It allows for a lot of cross talk between researchers, where before we may have been spread out throughout the building or campus,” said Nichols, an assistant professor.

A classroom in the basement of the hall has been expanded and will hold all classes for first- and second-year students.

“We have designed this space to be very flexible, so that research rooms and offices can be swapped with laboratory space and examination rooms as the needs change. This will be functional and adaptable research space for decades to come,” Zadnik said.

The college raised more than $8 million to fund the construction project through a grant from the NIH, state matching funds, reserve funds and private donations. The E.F. Wildermuth Foundation gave $1 million toward the project.

Did you know?
  • Ohio State’s College of Optometry is one of only 17 optometry progams in the nation.
  • Of the 17 programs, six are headed by an Ohio State graduate.
  • The progam was the first nationally to establish a research program in vision science.

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