Trustees approve planning for new student center and new bachelor's degree on regional campuses

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Miami University trustees today, April 25, approved proceeding with planning for a Bicentennial Student Center, a new building that would fill a gap in on-campus space for social interaction - a need that students have identified in surveys and focus groups.

The approval does not include details of the plans nor financing yet, but initial ideas include a central location on Spring Street, a 600-seat theatre, large and small group meeting space, retail and dining areas and more. The university hopes to break ground in 2009, the school's bicentennial year, and to raise at least half of the estimated $80 million construction cost via gifts.

"It is incredibly important that our curricular and co-curricular efforts are combined in a way that brings student success," said Miami President David Hodge. "This student center will fill a gap that allows those efforts to come together. This will be transformative."

Trustees passed a separate resolution to award architectural and engineering contracts for the design of the center at a budget not to exceed $8 million; renovation of Kreger Hall not to exceed $1.5 million; and design of central quad utility upgrades with an aggregate budget not to exceed $750,000.

More information is available at the Bicentennial Student Center Web site,

They also approved a new bachelor's degree in integrative studies to be offered this fall at the Hamilton and Middletown campuses. This new degree will offer a variety of study concentrations and build on a collaboration with Sinclair Community College and Cincinnati State Technical and Community College to help students with associate degrees to complete their bachelors' degrees at a campus near them.

"Adding this bachelor's degree may be the most significant move we've made for our communities since the regional campuses were founded," said Kelly Cowan, dean of the Middletown campus.

In other actions, trustees
• elected Barbara Jones as new vice president for student affairs effective Aug. 1. Jones is currently assistant chancellor for student affairs at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. At Miami, she will play a key role in shaping the process for the planned Bicentennial Student Center, the sophomore residency implementation and continued efforts to reduce high-risk behavior among students.
• approved awarding contracts to remediate the wall system of the vivarium of the psychology building, not to exceed $2.75 million.