Finding a New Home
ACUHO-I has been searching for office space in and around The Ohio State University campus and the Columbus metropolitan area for many years. After not finding what we needed where we needed it or, in some cases, at a price we could afford, it came as a pleasant surprise when our agent, Bill Greenlee of ROI Realty, showed us 1445 Summit Street. If you have ever searched for something long and hard, then you know the feeling that happens when you find it. It is almost unreal. I remember saying to Bill “this is it.” And so began our nearly year-long journey through due diligence, board approval, financing, space and use planning, contracting, permits, and more.
ACUHO-I and OSU
To give you a bit of the back story, ACUHO-I has had a long standing relationship with OSU that began in the early 1980s, when the Board of Directors went in search of a permanent home for the association, believing that an office manager would provide needed consistency and support for the growing association. Since that time ACUHO-I has been located on or near the campus. We are currently located in a privately owned office building that is in a suburban neighborhood on the edge of what is the agricultural college. Basically, our current office space could be located anywhere, meaning that there is little to no connectivity to the campus, the community, or anything walkable. It’s basically an office park that mostly consists of medical offices. Nothing special.
The proximity of the new building to OSU is as close as we could hope to get given the cost of real estate in the area, where just about everything has been converted to apartments to serve the student body and young professionals wanting to be in the thriving campus, downtown, and surrounding neighborhoods. One of the criteria in our search was to be close to OSU, both for our student interns, without whom our organization would not function, and so we could increase connectivity to campus and the community.
It’s a funny thing to work for an international association. Just about everyone we work with, aside from each other, is physically located somewhere else on the planet. We do our business via email, the telephone, and Skype. Our work takes us to different cities across the nation each year and sometimes to other countries. We very much enjoy the face-to-face interactions, however the somewhat intense travel schedule for some staff makes it difficult to participate on local boards, and volunteer as much as we would like. Building a sense of community and connectivity for staff is something associations must work hard to accomplish.
Much space and use planning has been done to determine if 1445 Summit Street really could be the right place for ACUHO-I. Early in the process Jane Cady Wright (CEO and president) and Mike Evans (vice president) of Hanbury Evans Wright Vlattas + Company, toured the building at my request, “just to see and let me know what they thought.” From that meeting we began to really consider the possibility of transforming this space into the new headquarters for ACUHO-I.
Once the ACUHO-I Executive Board gave their approval to proceed with due diligence, members of the HEWV staff returned to donate their time to work with our staff on an office program study. They conducted a series of meetings and design charrettes and facilitated the creation of our space planning goals, which is the framework we are using to guide construction and renovation. In the end we hope to have a space to support our people, a space to support our work, and a healthy environment. We sincerely thank Jane and Mike as well as Abigail Grubb, also of HEWV, for sharing their expertise with us and for their continued generosity to ACUHO-I.
I will be blogging about the project along the way to fill in more of the back story and to take you along with us on this journey. I hope you will follow along and give us your thoughts and ideas. After all, this is your professional home and we are but stewards in service to this great association.
Sallie Traxler is the executive director for ACUHO-I.