By Jeffrey Saddownick, For The Miami Student
Miami is getting yet another facelift. Miami is in the process of a $93 million renovation of the buildings in the East Quad, including Dorsey, Dennison, Collins, Symmes and McBride halls. The dorms will have new common areas and their heating and cooling systems will be upgraded. Miami is also constructing Garden Commons, a new dining facility at Symmes hall.
The renovation began in May and is expected to be finished July 2015.
Miami is renovating the halls because they are long overdue for an upgrade, said Cody Powell, associate vice president of facilities planning and operations.
“These buildings are now 50 to 60 years old, and it’s a huge part of our campus,” Powell said. “While they’re reasonably well maintained and fairly nice … they’re just not there.”
Many of the buildings had not been renovated since their original construction.
“They were becoming outdated,” Robert Bell, project manager of the renovations, said.
Miami has a “Housing Master Plan” that outlines the renovation of every residence hall and construction of new residence halls over the next 20 years. The renovation of East Quad is just another step in this process.
“We had not done a good job of renovating these buildings as we go,” Powell said, “And we had to develop a plan of how we’d accomplish this before these buildings completely deteriorated or got to the point where people just don’t want to stay in them.”
The renovations to East Quad include new fire suppression systems, improved accessibility for students with disabilities, refurbished bathrooms and modern plumbing as well as electrical, heating and air conditioning systems.
“All spaces will receive new finishes, and some spaces will be reconfigured to increase the overall amount of common space and distribute common living and studying spaces throughout the buildings,” Bell said.
The buildings will be set up to use geothermal energy in the future. Geothermal energy is currently in use at Western Commons residence halls on Western Campus.
Fisher Drive, which cuts through East Quad, will be permanently closed and converted into green space.
The Garden Commons dining hall is intended to be a more convenient dining location for students living in East Quad. It will be located behind the Farmer School of Business (FSB), so students can get a quick meal before class. The new dining hall is expected to alleviate some of the overcrowding at the Dividends dining facility in FSB.
Previously, the nearest dining hall for students in East quad was Erickson Dining Hall, located behind Dennison, opposite the academic buildings. This location made Erickson inconvenient for on-the-go dining. Erickson Dining Hall will be converted into a residence hall.