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Trustees approve site for school of business

Miami's board of trustees voted unanimously Dec. 10 to approve building the new business school where Reid Hall, a student residence hall, now stands.

The site, which is at the northeast corner of Patterson Avenue and High Street, was recommended by President Jim Garland following campus discussions that began last spring when it was determined that the original site in the main academic quad was too small to meet the needs of the Richard T. Farmer School of Business.

Eleven sites were debated at several public hearings. One of the possibilities, Bishop Woods, prompted a petition drive - signed by about 4,500 persons - to preserve the three-acre woodlot.

Each of the 11 sites had pluses and minuses, said Garland, and the decision was not an easy one, but the site chosen will fit well into the university's overall academic plan.

The new business building, expected to be completed in summer of 2008, will allow the Richard T. Farmer School of Business to be a national leader in delivering an educational product that incorporates technology while promoting team-oriented teaching and student-faculty interaction, said business school officials.

The school has 140 faculty members in six departments located in two buildings, which were built in 1948 and 1959. Enrollment totals about 4,400.

Reid Hall, built in 1948, houses about 140 students. Its demolition, planned for 2006, fits in with the university's long-range plan to close several of its 36 residence halls, said university officials.

Normally, a building site would not require formal trustee action, but portions of the eastern quad, where Reid Hall is located, as well as several other sites among the 11 studied, were designed in guidelines adopted by the trustees in 1982 as areas “deserving” of protection as open space.

In other action, several other major building projects moved closer to reality when trustees unanimously approved a preliminary and routine step in the bond issuance process. Approval is being sought from the Ohio Board of Regents to issue bonds totaling up to $92 million.

The bonds, which are expected to receive final approval this spring, will be used to help finance a new psychology building, engineering and applied science building, two parking structures, a new ice arena, improvements to Yager Stadium, utility system upgrades, an electrical generation facility and an apartment housing project already under way.

In addition, they will help fund residence hall improvements and the renovation of Presser Hall.

Most of the projects will be built with a combination of capital funds from the state of Ohio, university funds and gift money.

Miami is embarking on an ambitious, but necessary, investment in enhancing its physical plant to provide students and faculty with facilities that will meet 21st century needs, said Fred Wall, chair of the board of trustees.

In other action trustees:

• unanimously re-elected the current board of officers for next year. Fred Wall will remain as chair; Laurel Dawson as vice chair; Kathleen Zouhary as secretary and Chandra Shah as treasurer.

• heard a report that applications for admission to Miami as of Dec. 10 are up about 7.4 percent compared to last year at this time. Last year, applications totaled about 15,000, an all-time record, and if the trend continues this year's numbers will top that total.

• heard a report on a proposed center for the arts by José Bowen, dean of the School of Fine Arts. An initial design proposed for the Miami University Center for the Arts was estimated to cost more than $75 million, but still left many academic needs unaddressed, said Bowen.

His goal is to design a fine arts building where students can interact with the world's art and music in new ways. The proposed multi-use facility would create a vibrant center for students, faculty and art seven days a week plus house a new student dining facility. It's expected the price tag would be in the $30 million range.

The arts center would be designed to provide flexible space for classes, rehearsals, late-night global jam sessions, high profile speakers, small poetry readings, improv theatre, blues festivals and much more, often all at once.

The concept is still in the planning stage and no action was taken or requested.

• approved professor emerita status for Rosemary Frazer, educational psychology, and professor emeritus status for John A. Dutra, classics; Michael J. Fuller, teacher education; A.J. Herbet, paper science and engineering; Max Morenberg, English; and Bruce H. Olson, finance. The rank will become effective with the formal dates of their retirements.

Date Published: 12/16/2004
Volume: 24   Number: 19

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