COLUMBUS — Ohio has the big “Block O” to thank for thousands of jobs and billions of dollars bolstering its economy, according to a new study.

Ohio State University generates $15.2 billion annually in economic impact for the state, according to the analysis released by the school Wednesday. The study also showed the university supported more than 123,000 jobs across Ohio in fiscal year 2018, or about one in every 57 jobs in the state.

“If we kind of imagine Columbus, or imagine central Ohio, without the Ohio State University, you’d pull out 123,000 jobs, you’d pull out $15.2 billion a year in direct economic impact,” Ohio State President Michael V. Drake said Wednesday at a Columbus Metropolitan Club luncheon, where he shared the results of the analysis. “So we really see the impact of the university on our state and region, and it’s extraordinarily important.”

The university partnered with consulting firm Tripp Umbach of Erie, Pennsylvania, to conduct the analysis of economic benefits spurred by Ohio State operations. The firm used a modeling system to calculate the economic benefits — both direct and indirect — of Ohio State’s operational spending. It also takes into account the effects of employee, student and visitor spending on retail, restaurants, hotels, events and other goods and services, Ohio State said.

The university’s economic impact is attributed to its six campuses, academic medical center and athletics, the university said in a news release. The main campus alone generated $7 billion in economic benefits, supported more than 67,000 jobs and stimulated nearly $349 million in state and local tax revenue, the study found.

The Wexner Medical Center generated about $7.2 billion and supported nearly 22,000 full- and part-time jobs.

And how ’bout those Buckeyes?

The study said the economic impact of Ohio State athletics in fiscal year 2018 was about $400.5 million. University athletics also supported about 3,100 jobs and generated $31.9 million in local and state government revenue.

The university paid Tripp Umbach $150,000 to conduct the study, Ohio State spokesman Ben Johnson said.

The information from the analysis is intended to be shared with stakeholders, senior Ohio State leadership and various community partners, the study’s summary said.

Last year, a separate study indicated that Ohio’s public universities added $42 billion to the state economy in 2016-17, representing about 6.7 percent of Ohio’s gross state product. That study was conducted for the Inter-University Council of Ohio and Forward Ohio, a collaborative campaign among the state’s 14 public universities to raise awareness about the value of public higher education.

Drake said the university’s recent highs in academic excellence, student body diversity, sponsored research funding and donor support give it momentum to help create a talented workforce to contribute to the economy.

Ohio State also expects its economic impact to grow as it embarks on major upcoming projects, such as its Wexner Medical Center hospital tower and an ambulatory care complex and interdisciplinary research center on West Campus. The study projected those planned projects combined could generate another $3.8 billion in economic impact and create 22,000 jobs over the construction period.

“We were founded as a land grant (university) to be able to be in a community, and help that community and quality of life in that community grow,” Drake said. “And we really see that it’s happened.”

 

jsmola@dispatch.com

@jennsmola