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Miami to renovate Hamilton Hall, add new sorority suites

By Lauren Oliver, The Miami Student

Hamilton Hall will likely undergo renovations at the end of the school year, repurposing the now-vacant Hamilton Dining Hall to create additional sorority suites and living space. The project is estimated to begin May 2016, and be completed August 2017.

Hamilton Hall houses two different sorority suites, compared to the other residence halls on Central Quad that house six to eight suites - limiting the impact of how many students will be affected.

The completed renovations will add four or five suites to the two already in place. The other residence halls on Central Quad will also undergo renovations in the future, but no concrete plans have been made.

David Creamer, senior vice president of finance and business services, said it makes sense that the smaller hall on Central Quad was chosen first for the next part of Miami's 2020 Housing and Dining Master Plan.

"The two sorority houses that will be affected as a part of the plan will develop an interim strategy for their placement, and there will be limited impact on the sorority suites taken offline," Creamer said. "Had we decided upon another building, it would have been greater to accommodate those needs."

According to the Board of Trustees Agenda for Sept. 24, 2015, "[The] building will receive a comprehensive interior renovation and upgrade of all building systems, fire suppression, energy efficiency, accessibility improvements, landscaping, and site utility connections."

Sophomore sorority member Molly Nicholas said she believes the new renovations could be an area of contention between some of the girls.

"Whichever sororities get to live there the first year are going to be so lucky, and everyone else is going to be so mad," Nicholas said. "If I was a sophomore coming in and all of these girls got to live in the new hall, I would be mad if I were in a situation where I had all of the old stuff."

However, another sophomore sorority member, Miranda Conway, said there are no other alternatives.

"It's the only way Sorority Quad will be renovated, because they have to do it one by one," Conway said. "[If not], sororities would be out of places to live because we are not provided houses."

Hamilton Hall and Clawson Halls' renovations, which are part of the same plan, are projected to cost $48 million.

Senior sorority member Nicole Kissela said she is pleased with the plan and only sees it having a positive outcome.

"I think it's a good idea," she said. "If we have the money, we should definitely renovate the suites and keep updating them."

While more suites will be created, and Miami's Greek community continues to grow with the arrival of sorority Phi Sigma Sigma to campus this fall, Creamer said the renovations are not because more sororities will be invited to campus, but rather to accommodate the growing number of students.

"Given that there's been increased interest in sororities, we have tried to accommodate these needs on a temporary basis," Creamer said. "We're simply trying to create the flexibility in order to meet those needs."