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Student center awaits approval

Hodge to review draft, present to board of trustees by late April

Published: Monday, January 21, 2008

Updated: Sunday, February 14, 2010 23:02

While President David Hodge will be reviewing a draft of the new Bicentennial Student Center within the next few weeks, Miami University and the Oxford community may have to wait until April for the details.

The committee, consisting of 14 selected individuals chosen last May, originally wanted to have a draft of the new student center ready for Hodge at the Feb. 8 board of trustees meeting, but they simply need more time, said Steve Snyder, executive assistant to the president and secretary for the board of trustees.

"It's a complicated process that needs to be worked through," said Snyder.

In the draft, the committee will include the approximate size of the building and a recommended location, Snyder said.

"It's big," Snyder said. "This is going to be a fantastic building. Students will be thrilled."

The new goal is to have the draft ready for Hodge to present to the board of trustees in late April. Hodge will then ask the board for approval and if approved, architect project manager Jack Williams will get the go ahead to start planning, Snyder said.

Since the draft should be ready by the end of April, there still is plenty of time to get involved in the process, said Dean of Students Susan Mosley-Howard.

The Miami and Oxford community will have a chance over the next few months to offer suggestions for the new building, and the committee wants people to know that their opinions do matter, Mosley-Howard said.

No new forums have been set up yet this semester, but Mosley-Howard said that they plan on implementing student input.

The university held one forum for the Miami community last September with the center's architects, WTW Architects, hoping to appeal to students and faculty members to contribute to the final design.

"Students who did the workshops before will definitely see their input," Mosley-Howard said.

According to a press conference held last September, Hodge has stated that the new student center will be part of Miami's 2009 Bicentennial Celebration, and that the university would like to break ground sometime that year, even if it is just a ceremonial ground breaking.

The university's biggest concern for this new project, though, is that Miami has no "student center" at all. Both Snyder and Hodge agree that Shriver is used by the entire university and not just the students.

According to Snyder, the building was originally called the University Center until it was re-named in 1954 after former university President Phillip R. Shriver.

The committee wants to create something new, Snyder and Mosley-Howard agreed, offering students opportunities the Shriver Center lacks, such as more entertainment and a place to simply hang out.

In previous interviews Hodge estimated that $70 million is needed in funding for the new student center and hopes that about $50 million of it will come from gifts-$35 million in major gifts and $15 million in smaller ones. Snyder announced that with this new draft, these figures might need to be refined.

Besides its official title of the Bicentennial Student Center, the university is still seeking a large donor to formally complete the name, Snyder said. The name of the donor would precede the center's official title.

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