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Miami (OH) Scales Back Student Union Plans

Miami (OH) University is scaling back plans to build a brand new student center complex because of projected cost overruns and budget cuts combined with an enrollment decline, reports the Cincinnati Inquirer. The original plan called for demolishing three buildings at the center of campus and replacing them with a single facility that would house student group offices, recreational facilities and a new dining venue.

The original cost estimate of $80 million was recently recalculated to more than $100 million, a steep increase, especially in light of recent budget cuts that have resulted in layoffs and staff reductions. That was caused in part by a decline of about 300 in freshman enrollment in 2009 over 2008.

A revised plan for the new student center involves renovating the existing buildings at a cost of $65 million, to be paid with private donations, including a requested $200 apiece from every UM graduate. If approved by the trustees, the first phase of the project could be completed by 2014. Proponents of a new student center claim the university needs such a facility to compete for students.

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