By Sammy Neiswander, For The Miami Student

The anticipated completion date for the second phase of Armstrong Student Center has been pushed back to fall 2017.

But, with the promise of highly demanded, medium-sized meeting rooms, several new dining options and possible retail space, the addition hopes to prove it is well worth the wait.

“The second phase is intended to add further value to our students by providing space specifically aimed at making the campus experience better,” Cody Powell, associate vice president of facilities planning and operations, said. “Space to work, create, collaborate, socialize and have fun.”

The original plan was for Armstrong to be built at once, with a single grand opening, but when the university couldn’t raise sufficient funds in time, the decision was made to split it into two parts.

It cost about $50 million for Phase One and an anticipated $12 million for Phase Two, according to ForLoveandHonor.org.

Katie Wilson, director of Armstrong Student Center, explained how beneficial Phase One was for the planning of the second phase.

“When students gave feedback regarding what they wanted in a student center, it was clear that not everything would fit in just the new building and the renovated Gaskill and Rowan Halls,” Wilson said. “The East Wing Expansion has many of these things.”

These features include student senate chambers and offices, a dozen or so 30 to 50 person meeting rooms and a few that could sit 100 people, some retail space, and talk of plentiful lounge area equipped with TVs, pool tables and more.

“There will be at least two eating facilities,” President David Hodge said. “One will be a coffee and snacks shop right in the traffic flow area between Armstrong and Culler. The other will be an active meeting place/eating place probably along the lines of Buffalo Wild Wings.”

With the additional space, career services will move to the ground floor of this new building, along with interview rooms and offices to support students. Offices for Armstrong staff will also move to make room for student organizations on campus.

The anticipated completion date was pushed back because, in order to move forward on this project, Shideler Hall renovations must be completed, and the Geology and Geography Departments must vacate Culler Hall, where they are temporarily located, which won’t happen until 2016.

All plans are still in the works and will be brought up next week at Student Senate and in a couple of focus groups as well.

“We are verifying that we have the right mix of meeting rooms, lounge/recreation spaces, dining options and retail concepts,” Wilson said.

Students are being given the opportunity to speak up and help make decisions that will affect the new building anticipated to become a big part of student life at Miami University come fall 2017.

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