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Miami plans $3.6 million indoor equestrian center, other construction projects

<p>You can take a horesriding clas at Miami&#x27;s Equestrian Center.</p>

You can take a horesriding clas at Miami's Equestrian Center.

The university is currently completing seven large construction projects, including a $3.6 million indoor equestrian center.

Construction on the equestrian center is set to begin this summer and finish by the end of 2020. The project will be entirely financed by donations and will be located on the site of the old outdoor center, said Robert Bell, interim director of planning, architecture and engineering. The new facility will essentially be an empty building to cover the old outdoor riding arena. It will include stands and heating and will allow the team to practice throughout the winter. 

Bell said the indoor facilities have been planned since 2013 when the construction of the current stable began. The project has been on hold until the university could find funding for the facilities.

Other ongoing construction projects include Stanton Hall, which is currently being renovated and should be ready to house incoming first-year students this fall. Pearson Hall should finish construction this spring, Robert Bell said. 

Within Armstrong Student Center, there are plans for both a made-to-order sushi bar — which opened at the start of the spring semester in the old Miami Ice location — and a smoothie bar  planned to be in place before spring break. The smoothie bar will be located in the old Rowan boutique across from Cafe Lux. 

Beginning this summer, Dodds Hall will be closed to students as it is renovated during the next academic year. This renovation was originally planned to be completed in conjunction with Stanton Hall but was postponed due to the large size of the incoming first-year class, said Cody Powell, associate vice president of Facilities, Planning and Operations, at the December Board of Trustees (BoT) meeting

The current Student Health Center will also be torn down this summer, with plans to reconstruct the building to house Miami’s nursing and audiology departments, as well as the health center. While the Clinical Health Sciences and Wellness Building is constructed, the health services will be relocated to Harris Hall — a former dining hall that hasn’t been used since the spring of 2017 — which has undergone slight construction in preparation for its transition into the temporary health center.

Construction within Harris Hall includes the demolition of the kitchen and east dining areas in favor of clinical exam and counselling rooms, as well as updates to the current heating and cooling systems, which is estimated to cost approximately $4.4 million, Bell said. Once the Clinical Health Sciences and Wellness Building is finished, Harris Hall will act as a “swing space,” undergoing slight renovations so that it can be adapted for whatever future needs the university might have as renovations in other buildings continue. This could include office or classroom space, Bell said. 

There are also plans to renovate the plaza between the Psychology Building and Pearson Hall, which is expected to take place during the upcoming summer and fall. 

“We always have the need to update things,” Bell said, who added that while renovations have mainly been focused toward the residence buildings, there will be a shift back toward academic buildings within the next few years. 

Bell estimated that each renovation takes approximately 14 months, which would span over the course of two summers and a full academic year. 

While the university typically aims for 14 months, it depends on the size of the building, Bell said, adding that it is often harder to renovate academic buildings than it is residence halls, because the former requires the planning of “specialized space” for students, as well as offices for professors and various labs, depending on what the building is used for.

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Besides these renovations, there are plans to renovate Bachelor Hall, Ogden Hall and Bell Tower Place Dining Hall, as well as to add an e-sports area in Armstrong Student Center within the next five years.