Miami University plans to remodel 37 residence halls, six apartments in Heritage Commons and six dining halls during the next 18 years. Miami has used both outside consultants and surveys to assess renovation needs. The editorial board of The Miami Student supports the creation of such a plan because upgrades are overdue in some buildings, and the residence halls stand to be a major selling point for the university. Prospective students may not remember every fact from the campus tour, but they will surely remember the dorm room they are shown. Furthermore, renovations will increase the energy efficiency of older buildings through heating and insulation improvements.
In a recent survey, parents indicated they noticed differences between the high quality of the academic buildings and that of residence halls. Residence hall rooms are also smaller than the national average. More importantly, Miami lacked adequate housing for its students this year, so the university needs to be proactive in creating space. Renovations must be constant and distributed over time to keep the buildings and Miami’s budget in good shape.
It is important for the university to not be excessive in so as not to compromise the economic and academic future of Miami. While some residence halls will not need renovations for 16 years or so, others require immediate attention. Comprehensive communication is also important; we do not want to see a residence hall undergo renovation only to be torn down in the next decade to make room for campus rearrangement. All relevant parties need to be informed of plans so resources are not wasted. All the buildings need to be inspected so renovations can be prioritized.
With plans for building the Bicentennial Student Center underway, Miami is taking on a lot of expensive projects now, when money is already tight. While this board recognizes the need for timely renovations, it cautions the university not to pursue upgrades excessively. Miami must focus on what is necessary in the here and now. This board took issue with the framing of residence hall renovation. Though it is true that 37 residence halls will be renovated, it would be more revealing and transparent to say that there are only 37 residence halls in total; so Miami is planning to renovate all of its residence halls. Setting goals and carefully, critically reviewing renovation proposals is key to formulating a fiscally responsible project.