Construction crews are finishing work on an $8.4-million renovation of Mirror Lake on Ohio State’s main campus. The new landscaping and marshy edges are designed to discourage jumping in the lake and give the pond a more natural look. Laura A. Bischoff
Photo: Laura A. Bischoff
Photo: Laura A. Bischoff

OSU redesigns lake hoping to end tradition of jumping in before Michigan game

University officials are hopeful that the new design will permanently end the long-standing tradition of jumping in the lake before the Michigan-OSU football game.

But in case it doesn’t, the lake can be drained. Fast.

OSU landscape architect Steve Volkmann said in a video posted by the university that the new design aims to “provide a safer lake. We believe that having a deeper planting edge will discourage people from playing in the lake.”

In November 2015, Bellbrook native Austin Singletary, 22, died during the Mirror Lake jump on campus.

Two years later, Ohio State agreed to pay the Singletary family $450,000 to settle a lawsuit. The third year student died of accidental head and neck trauma.

Related: OSU to pay $450K to family of area student who died in lake jump

Immediately, Ohio State announced it would take steps to end the lake jump tradition, which had drawn thousands of students.

Related: OSU student from Dayton area dies in annual ‘lake jump’

The rebuilding of the lake, which cost $8.4-million, includes removing the brick bottom and concrete sides and installing a more natural landscape to the four-foot deep lake. Volkmann said more seating, overlooks and Wi-Fi have been added to make the area more inviting.

Mirror Lake started out as a stream and then a bog nearly 145 years ago.

According to an article published in The Lantern, the renovation is the latest in a long line of face lifts to the pond over the past 80 years, including efforts to address algae growth and unpleasant smells.

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