Protests Sway Miami U. on Student Housing Site

After considering feedback from students, alumnae and faculty members, Miami University has decided to change the location of a planned student housing project.

After considering feedback from students, alumni and faculty members, Miami University has decided to change the location of a planned student housing project.

At the end of April, the university announced its intention to build a new, 300-bed residence hall, to help meet the growing demand for student housing. Its proposed location was the site of the historic Patterson Place building, built in 1898 on the Western campus. Officials chose the site after looking at several alternatives. Patterson Place was selected because it offered a safe student housing location, with convenient access to central campus resources, buildings and dining services. The location was also deemed the most cost-efficient, able to join the existing geothermal grid on the Western campus, and because it could have been completed in time to meet the demand forecast for the fall of 2017. In a statement, David Creamer, the university’s senior vice president for finance and business services, said that “Miami’s housing demand is expected to exceed capacity by 500-600 beds by 2017.” However, the plan did not sit well with some members of the Miami community. They protested the decision, showing their attachment to the historic building. On May 4, David Hodge, the university’s president, said in a statement that the new residence hall will not be constructed on the site of Patterson Place, as it ”could seriously undermine our sense of place, our sense of self, and our sense of community.” He added that university will try to create a fundraising plan to support the renovation of the historic building. In spite of additional costs and other challenges, Miami still intends to build the new residence hall.