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onMain Project's First Use is as Lab for UD, Sinclair Engineering Students

It should come as no surprise that onMain — Dayton's Imagination District, a place with a vision of fostering imagination and innovation — is first being used as a 38-acre lab for Sinclair Community College and University of Dayton students.

A group of 12 to 15 students from Sinclair's engineering technology design program and the University of Dayton department of civil and environmental engineering and engineering mechanics have the opportunity to present conceptual and structural designs of a residential and commercial building to onMain partners Premier Health and University of Dayton for possible use in the development.

"We don't know exactly how contributions will be used, but we are honored the University, Premier Health and planning NEXT are providing opportunities for students to be part of the project and participate in hands-on learning opportunities that will be considered for application in the real-world," said Don Chase, director of undergraduate studies in the University of Dayton civil and environmental engineering and engineering mechanics department and faculty advisor for the project. "It's exciting for these students to even have a chance to one day possibly look at onMain and tell their children and grandchildren, 'I helped design that when I was in college.'"

As part of the project, which spans both semesters of the 2018-19 academic year, the students will create architectural and structural drawings plus plans for clearing space for the building, waste and stormwater management, traffic, landscaping, lighting and parking. They also will work with faculty advisors on site to ensure pinpoint accuracy of Geographic Information System data for architects, engineers and designers.

Because the students are not licensed professional engineers, all designs and proposals will be presented to the partners, planning NEXT, the planning firm hired to lead the process that culminated in the vision, and professional engineers and architects for final consideration for the project.

"Design scenarios such as this produce high-quality learning experiences that no classroom lecture could ever produce," said Eric Dunn, chair of Sinclair's engineering technology design program. "This project will give students a taste of how to follow and maintain a client's architectural and overall site vision while also conforming to federal, state and local design standards."

The University's and Premier's long-term vision for the property allows for flexibility and reflects the input of more than 850 members of the community through the broad-based Fairgrounds to Future planning process. Key elements of the vision include:

●    A truly walkable urban neighborhood with places to work, live and gather.

●    A focus on creative, innovation and entrepreneurial activities and jobs — retail will be geared to serve those who live and work onMain. The district is not intended to be a retail and shopping destination.

●    Mixed-income housing that offers opportunities for residents to live close to where they work.

●    Design standards for buildings that integrate environmental sustainability and wellness, reflecting the mission and values of the two institutions.

●    onMain’s employers, entertainment venues and housing will draw a diverse mix of people who are representative of the broader Dayton community and its vibrant neighborhoods.

●    onMain’s initial phase will focus on creating a critical mass of employment, housing, retail and other uses at the south end of the site along Main Street.

●    Urban agriculture would be located on land at the western end of the site and on building rooftops.

●    Restoration of the property's historic Roundhouse.

●    A "catalytic" building would be built at the northwest corner of Stewart and Main streets to spur development. 

As is typical with large, complex development projects that involve many community partners, a complete transformation of the property will occur in phases.

Premier Health and the University are taking steps to create a nonprofit development organization to manage the development process and provide day-to-day oversight of the property.

The two institutions purchased the 38-acre site in 2017 and have been working on a long-range vision for the property that builds upon their institutional missions and values, promotes economic development and fosters a unique sense of place that serves broad community interests.

Outreach to potential funding sources has begun, a process that is likely to take at least 12 to 24 months before any new construction might occur on the property. Such partnerships could fund initial phases of the redevelopment, including roadways, utilities, water and sewer, and removal of some structures.

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For interviews, contact Shawn Robinson at 937-229-3391.


News and Communications Staff