The Ridges Advisory Council will present a draft of their development plan at the Board of Trustees meeting in June.

Ohio University is one step closer to knowing what to do with The Ridges.

The Ridges Advisory Council is now working to solidify drafts for what the over-665 acre property should become, said Joseph Shields, vice president for research and creative activity and dean of the Graduate College.

The Council, which met Thursday, now has two specific philosophies on the table: one that emphasizes conservation and another that emphasizes commercialization.

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Some of the conservation model could include more walking paths, more outdoor seating, hiking and recreation. The commercial model could include academic and research labs, a parking garage, restaurants and retail spaces.

Officials have until June to finalize its plans for The Ridges.

Schooley Caldwell Associates, a Columbus-based architectural and engineering firm, is assisting the council with the planning for the space along with MKSK, a Columbus-based landscape and architecture firm. SCA has also assisted with the past renovations of Shively Hall, Bentley Hall, Kantner Hall, Copeland Hall, and the Voinovich Center at The Ridges.

“There’s a whole lot of property that simply cannot be developed in a traditional fashion,” said Sarah Richardson, a senior associate at MKSK. “The land itself kind of forces us into the (conservation) model.”

While plans for The Ridges are in development for a variety of things, nothing is set in stone.

“We have 700 acres, but that doesn’t mean we have to develop them all together,” said Bob Loversidge, SCA President and CEO. “There are 700,000 square feet of building, but that’s not to say we have to find a single user for all that 700,000 square feet. We’re trying to understand the importance and flexibility of these buildings.”

The university is also considering renovating a building so that it can house an observatory at The Ridges.

The council will be looking to the Kirkbride Building, which houses the Kennedy Museum of Art, as a possible way to renovate without having to create buildings from the ground up.

“The Kirkbride building was meant to house we have these longer corridor buildings,” he said. “A floor is like half a mile long.”

Loversidge said these buildings lend themselves nicely to being divided vertically rather than horizontally. The council would consider new entrances and stairs to divide the building into more efficient sections.

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The Ridges Advisory Council will finish a draft framework plan after at least one more public meeting, before it presents it at the Board of Trustees’ June meeting, said Shawna Bolin, Director of University Planning and Space Management.

The council was originally set to have a plan drafted for the property by Spring 2015.

The draft of OU’s entire Comprehensive Master Plan, of which the Ridges Framework Plan• will be a part, is to be presented to the Board of Trustees in January, Bolin said.