By Paris Franz, Senior Staff Writer
The construction at Armstrong and other sites will continue throughout the summer.
Over the summer, several construction projects will be underway including the completion of the North Quad Residence halls and Martin Dining Hall, continued construction on the second phase of the Armstrong Student Center and the Gunlock Family Athletic Center, the demolition of Withrow Court and the commencement of construction for a new residence hall.
The North Quad residence halls and Martin Dining Hall will be completed over the summer and open for operation in the fall, said Ted Christian, project manager for the North Quad renovations. Resident directors will move into the newly renovated North Quad halls – Brandon Hall, Flower Hall, Hahne Hall and Hepburn Hall – in mid-July.
Martin Dining Hall is to be completed by August 1. In addition to a new, airy, modern feel, the hall will now feature a fitness center on the lower level with weights, cardio equipment and a multipurpose exercise studio, said Christian.
Culler is being renovated as an extension of the Armstrong Student Center. Construction of Armstrong was planned in two phases, said David Creamer, Miami University senior vice president of finance and business services.
The current construction is part of phase two. The construction that has already taken place this semester was mainly focused on the interior of Culler Hall. Over the summer, construction will take place to connect the buildings. Eventually, the Career Services Offices will be relocated to the completed facility. The finished Armstrong Student Center will also have student government chambers, additional meeting rooms, recreational areas and a coffee bar.
The addition to the Armstrong Student Center will not be completed until after the 2017 spring semester.
Junior Julia Walton is displeased with the construction at Armstrong and Culler. The construction blocks the path between the two buildings, which she used to take to her classes from the Shriver bus stop and back.
“I live off campus so I take the bus every day, so having to take detours around the construction and through different buildings adds maybe five minutes or so to my walk time, making it very inconvenient,” said Walton, who has missed the bus several times this semester.
Walton is also baffled by the timing of the construction. While she believes there was some monetary consideration behind the decision to build Armstrong in two phases, she cannot believe that splitting the construction was the best option available.
“When I first started here, Armstrong wasn’t even open, so to think in the course of my four years here that it’s been finished and they’re already re-doing construction on it – I find it ridiculous,” said Walton. “I do think that some of the amenities that they’re adding are probably going to be beneficial and nice, but the inconveniences slightly outweigh the benefits.”
The North Quad residence halls were renovated in part to address the increase in student enrollment. In addition to the renovations, Hahne Hall has an entirely new wing that will add about 110 beds to the building. Miami requires full-time first year and second year students to live on-campus, and the growing enrollment creates a greater demand for on-campus beds.
This academic year, approximately 7,900 students lived in university housing, both on and off campus. It is expected that roughly 8,000 students will need university housing for the upcoming academic year, a growth of slightly over 12 percent since the fall of 2009 when there were about 7,100 students living in university housing.
“We obviously are enrolling more students today than has been historically the case,” said Creamer. “That’s why we have been looking at some options to not just renovate existing buildings, but to apply some additional beds to be able to fully respond to student demand for residence hall beds on campus.”
To address the growth, construction for a new residence hall will also begin this summer at what is currently the Hepburn Varsity Tennis Courts near the baseball field. The tennis courts are being relocated to the outside of Yager Stadium, and will be operational in August.
Anastasiia Vasiukhina, varsity tennis player, is looking forward to the move.
“I’m pretty excited because it’s going to be a brand new facility and we’re going to get a new locker,” said Vasiukhina. “It’s going to be a further walk than it is right now, because obviously, you have to walk to Yager. But hopefully, we will get some fans to come watch our matches after the football games.”
The Mid-American Conference tournament held last weekend was the last varsity tournament that will be held at the Hepburn Varsity Tennis Courts.
Additionally, Withrow Court will be demolished this summer. The Board of Trustees has not decided what will replace Withrow, but the construction of another residence hall is being considered.
Construction will continue on the Gunlock Family Athletic Performance Center over the summer. The center will connect to Yager Stadium and provide training facilities including a weight room, lockers and offices for Miami’s football program. It is scheduled to be completed near the end of 2016.