Miami University’s Board of Trustees (BoT) approved $100.5 million worth of construction projects for the Oxford campus at its meeting Friday.
This is the second round of major construction projects approved by the Trustees in recent months. At their December meeting, the Board submitted a Capital Improvements Plan to the state of Ohio, requesting $106 million for new construction over the next six years.
As part of Miami’s Housing Master Plan, $70 million will be spent to renovate MacCracken, Richard and Porter Halls. MacCracken market will also be renovated in the process.
More than $21 million will be spent on the South Chiller Plant Conversion Project. The project will transition the south half of campus from steam heating to a simultaneous heating and cooling system that will pipe hot and cold water around campus.
The plant conversion, part of the Utility Master Plan, is a “key step” toward lowering the university’s energy consumption and decommissioning its coal-fired steam systems, according to the BoT summary.
Two smaller construction projects round out most of the remaining $10 million of approved construction.
The student-favorite Starbucks at Maplestreet Station will be relocated to Shriver Center over the summer and fall of 2018 to the tune of $4.5 million dollars. The planned location in Shriver is larger, with room for about 80 guests at a time.
The empty space left behind will be integrated into Maplestreet Commons, adding kitchen, service and dining space to the buffet location.
The last construction project approved involves $4.8 million of improvements to the campus entrances on U.S. 27 and State Route 73, as well as changes to several other intersections around Oxford.
While the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) finished improving the road surface along U.S. 27 South in 2016, “the impact on the nearby landscape is very unattractive and is not consistent with a major entry to campus,” reads the BoT report.
The undertaking is largely an effort to beautify those visual “scars,” as David Creamer, vice president of finance and business services, characterized the ODOT alterations at Friday’s meeting.
Additions to the intersection at U.S. 27 South and State Route 73 entrances will include walls, piers and signs “in the character of campus architecture,” according to the BoT summary.
Safety improvements including bike lanes, crosswalks and signals are planned for the entrance near State Route 73.
The board also voted to expand Miami’s Tuition Promise program to the Middletown and Hamilton campuses. If approved by Ohio’s chancellor of higher education, students who enroll in the fall will pay the same rate for tuition for all four years.
Though many students earn two-year associates degrees at the regional campuses, the Regionals’ four-year degree programs have recently expanded, now including 19 degree programs. New students pursuing bachelor’s degrees in Hamilton or Middletown will pay $2,490 per semester.
The Board of Trustees approved several other measures including:
- Tenure or promotion for 37 Miami faculty members. Of those faculty, 13 gained full professorship, and one was given both full professorship and tenure. Associate professor level and tenure was granted to 20 faculty members, one faculty member received just tenure and two librarians were promoted to principal librarian status. Promotions take effect July 1.
- The addition of a career services fee for Regional students. Students will be charged $8.34 per credit hour with a maximum fee of $100 per semester to support new plans prepared by the Regional Campus Career Services and Professional Development Office.
- An increase in room and board fees for Oxford students. Returning students will not see increases in their room and board fees, but new students will pay 3 and 4 percent more, respectively.
- A 2 percent increase in standard tuition for graduate students in degree or certificate programs.
- The end of Alexandra Boster’s term as a student trustee. Members of the board, as well as President Greg Crawford, thanked the senior political science major for her service on the board.
- The end of trustee Dennis Lieberman’s term. In 2009, the Miami alum (‘75) was appointed by Governor Ted Strickland as a Miami University Trustee. Members of the board praised Lieberman for advocating for underprivileged students at Miami throughout his nine-year term.