OSU Weighing Possible Move To Privatized Utilities

Jun 7, 2016

Ohio State University is considering a proposal to privatize the utility system that heats, cools and powers more than 400 buildings on the school's main campus in Columbus.

OSU would become the largest public institution in the country to privatize its utility system on such a wide scale if the plan is approved.

The university is expected to invite six of 10 semi-finalist vendors to submit detailed bids in the fall.

The proposal comes four years after trustees struck a 50-year deal to lease 35,000 on-campus parking spaces to an outside vendor for $483 million.

Robert Burns, a retired research specialist who analyzed the project for the union representing OSU utility workers, says he's concerned that the proposal shifts risk off to future generations.

Four years ago, OSU leased its parking operations to a private company in a 50-year agreement that will send the school more than $400 million.