Adam Giffi, Senior Staff Writer

Miami University’s residence halls could be receiving facelifts in the next few years.

The university senate met Monday to hear the proposed plan of the Residence Hall Renovation Project. David Creamer, vice president for finance and business, led the presentation. He explained to the senate that the recommendation is to renovate the current residence halls rather than build new ones.

“Primarily replacing all of the residence halls was not financially feasible,” Creamer said.

Creamer said funds for creating new housing facilities comes directly from student fees. To avoid a fee increase, Creamer said renovation was seen as a more practical approach.

“We need to keep things affordable,” Creamer said. “Given the cost of tuition, we cannot allow the room and board rates to become a barrier to students’ enrollment.”

Creamer said another key reason the decision was made to renovate halls rather than construct new buildings was to keep the historical look and atmosphere of Miami. He said the best and most affordable way to maintain the architecture and meet students’ needs is to renovate.

Despite the focus on renovation, one new residence hall will be created in the middle of campus. Few details were given about this new building during the hearing. Creamer said the band practice field will need to be relocated for the creation of this new building.

The new residence hall would not add significantly to the amount of spaces, referred to as beds, for students to occupy, Creamer said. Instead, the majority of students would live in newly renovated areas.

“We expect that only about 1,100 new beds would be constructed through this process,” Creamer said. “So, only about one-sixth or a one-seventh of the beds will end up being new. Most will be in the form of renovation.”

Three tiers of renovation were under consideration, Creamer said. In the first tier, little will be done in terms of actual change. In the third tier, the current residence halls will be gutted and entirely new spaces will be created inside the same buildings. Ultimately, the decision was made to renovate just below the third tier level.

“This is something that gets us fairly significant changes in the space but doesn’t actually relocate any of the walls or other things inside the building,” Creamer said. “The bedroom sizes will likely remain the same, except spaces today that are doubles would likely be converted to singles.”

Creamer said a premium fee may be charged for rooms in the newly renovated rooms.

Robert Keller, associate vice president for facilities planning and operating, said during this process there will be two new dining halls created — one on Maple Street and one on Western Campus. The specifics of these new facilities have not yet been finalized. In the future, Scott and Hamilton dining halls will eventually be removed as the new dining halls become operational.

The renovation process is one that will continue over the course of decades. For the new facilities, Creamer expects work to begin as early as summer 2011 for an opening by fall 2013.

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