By Victoria Slater, Managing Editor
University to spend $140M on campus-wide construction projects
The 50-year-old Shriver Center is getting a $20 million face lift after the Board of Trustees unanimously endorsed renovation plans.
The trustees announced Phase I of the project - which will use university funds - at the Sept. 25 board meeting. The construction will update the former student center with refurbished office spaces, meeting rooms, a larger bookstore and a welcome center.
The estimated completion date is in January 2017.
Opened in 1957, the Shriver Center served as the student center for several decades, equipped with a popular food court and student common area on the first floor. However, Shriver's small size and fragmented layout, according to Miami University's archives, led ASG to propose the creation of a new student center in 2004, sparking the construction of Armstrong Student Center in 2011.
Vice President of Finance and Business Services David Creamer said plans for the Shriver renovations have been in the works since Armstrong opened in 2013, when several student organization spaces in Shriver relocated, subsequently leaving large portions of the building vacant and unused.
"It created opportunities to make improvements in the space and meet other needs on the campus," Creamer said at the trustee meeting.
Currently, Shriver houses the H.O.M.E. office, the university bookstore and an auditorium, as well as a print and IT Services desk.
One goal of the completed renovation project is to allow Miami's recruitment offices, currently housed in the Campus Avenue Building, to relocate to a more central area of campus.
As such, the first floor of the revamped Shriver Center will be dedicated to an admission center, as well as 250-seat auditorium, expanded bookstore space, a new convenience store and counseling rooms.
"I think these enhancements further reflect the improvements we will achieve through the Armstrong project that will now allow us to make further improvements in student services within the Shriver Center," Creamer said.
Miami community members have expressed positivity about the new welcome center, hoping its relocation to the hub of campus will help aid prospective students with their decision to attend Miami.
"Shriver's location is prime for a welcome center - the true center of campus where everything is going on," said Ted Pickerell, secretary to the Board of Trustees.
Junior Caroline Williams, who has been a tour guide for two years, said the relocation would benefit prospective student tours in a number of ways.
"I do think it will be more beneficial starting the tour near Armstrong, which we definitely push as a recruitment tool because of all its resources it offers students," she said, adding that tour times will be drastically shortened from their 90-minute average if they start in a central area of campus.
The remaining areas of Shriver - the first and second floors - will also be renovated. The second floor will feature a consolidated catering kitchen, as well as office suites, while the third floor will house the Rinella Learning Center and Student Disability Services, which are both currently located in CAB.
As to what will fill the empty spaces in the CAB building once the Shriver renovations are complete, Director of News and Communications Claire Wagner said no plans have been made, but she has some ideas.
"Miami's communication and marketing is currently in three different locations, so we are hoping this renovation will bring us a place where we can consolidate," she said.
The Shriver renovation resolution was one among several construction resolutions the Board of Trustees passed at its meeting. In the next six years, the university - with the Trustees' approval - plans to spend $140 million for renovation efforts including the Armstrong East Wing and updates to Pearson and Bachelor Halls, in addition to Shriver.