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Proposed student center will fulfill community needs

Published: Friday, April 18, 2008

Updated: Sunday, February 14, 2010 23:02

This week saw WTW Architects and the Miami University administration open discussion on an initial proposal for the new bicentennial student center to students. The center plans to fulfill several areas of university life that students and faculty feel are not present with the current King Café and Shriver Center arrangements. After reviewing WTW's proposal, the editorial board of The Miami Student believes that despite concern over an ambiguous final price tag for the building, these designs are exciting and represent an enormous step for the university.

The most important aspect of this board's decision rests on the experience of WTW Architects-we feel that their research into the student centers of comparable universities and previous design projects embodies a fully thought out approach to Miami's unique concerns. It is our hope that this vision continues throughout the design and construction process in order to present the university with a beautiful and viable building for future students. If we have a concern in the physical design portion of this process, it is a desire to see open spaces utilized to a greater effect than we have on campus thus far. The Shriver Center, inherently cramped and crowded, fundamentally fails to open up the internal areas within its structure-something that should be heavily pursued in order to ease the projected flow of students through the new student center and decrease crowding when all the new amenities are added.

While we understand that these enormous undertakings must be initiated in order to update the campus and draw new students to the university, the overall cost must continue to stay at the forefront of the discussion. The original $76 million projected cost of the new student center will already be inflated by baseline costs of almost $10 million more for knocking down existing buildings and updating utility elements. Assuming the acceptance of this proposal, the costs will most likely only rise as the building gets underway. In the face of the overall budget crisis at Miami, we must be wary of programs that will be susceptible to funding overruns.

As the proposal is sent to the next Board of Trustees meeting April 25, we hope that the approval process will go smoothly so as to get the design finalized and construction can get underway.

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