1. What is the New Student Activities Center Construction project?
The University of Miami will be constructing a new 119,368 square foot Student Activity Center along the shore of Lake Osceola in the heart of the Coral Gables campus. The purpose, design, and location of this exciting new facility will allow the University of Miami to meet the needs of today’s students and the entire University community while providing a signature building on campus. The University of Miami is committed to improving the quality of student life for all current and future Hurricanes and a new Student Activities Center will provide a focal point and meeting place on campus for our students.
2. What is being done to the current University Center?
The Norman A. Whitten University Center has already benefitted from some major renovations and will continue to be modernized following the completion of the new Student Activities Center. Built in 1965, this UC facility has been in need of numerous improvements to better match our campus needs. During the construction of the new Student Activities Center the current University Center will continue to function as normal. Once the new SAC is completed, the two buildings, joined by a new patio, will work to complement each other to bring to the campus a first-rate student center.
3. What types of facilities will be offered in the new Student Activities Center?
* A 10,000 sq ft Student Organizations Suite of offices for student groups, conference room and workspace
* Office/meeting space for Undergraduate Student Government, Law Student Bar Association, and Graduate Student Organization
* A large multipurpose room adaptable for banquets, lectures, or dance practices
* Lounge areas
* A fully equipped media center that will support Ibis Yearbook, The Miami Hurricane, and The Res Ipsa Loquitur
* Retail outlets
* A new Rathskeller
* 5 new meeting rooms
* An extended-hours combination study and lounge space, where students can gather for social studying, coffee or other refreshments in a comfortable environment
4. What is going to happen to the Rathskeller?
The Rathskeller is now open in the Whitten University Center adjacent to the patio. In fact, the Rat has annexed a part of the patio so that students can continue to enjoy the roller gliders and outdoor environment. By fall 2013, the Rat will move into its new location at the west end of the Student Activities Center – which will include a new outdoor space overlooking the lake.
5. What is the construction timeline? When will construction begin and when will it be finished?
Construction of the new Student Activities Center will take approximately two years to complete and will run from June 2011 to summer 2013, with a grand opening planned for fall 2013.
6. How is this project being funded?
A lead gift of $20,000,000 from the Fairholme Foundation was the catalyst to break ground on the Student Activities Center project in 2011. This, and other gifts, are added to the money provided by UM students derived from self-assessed student fees, paid by undergraduate, graduate, and law students. About 8 years ago students put together a plan to build a new student center and in March 2006, the University of Miami student body voted to implement this fee its construction and ongoing operation. Additional monies will come from a fundraising campaign and other funding sources.
7. How have students been involved in the planning process?
The University of Miami understands and values the input of its student body throughout the planning process for the new Student Activities Center. Through the use of an online survey, 13 focus groups, and a student advisory committee the student body expressed its desires for the new facility. The formal Student Advisory Board will begin to meet in Spring 2012 and will provide ongoing guidance related to use of the facility, policies, and weigh in on other operational and programmatic issues.
8. Who are the architects for the construction project?
The University has hired Miami-based Arquitectonica as lead architect, and associate architect WTW Architects of Pittsburgh, PA. Arquitectonica is a local firm known for its modern designs and WTW Architects is the premier design firm for student centers in the United States.
9. What is “sustainable architecture” and LEED Certification, and how is UM working to get this accomplished?
Leadership in Energy Efficient Design (LEED) standards are used to reduce wasted energy, provide for a healthier environment, and for measuring building sustainability. The LEED green building rating system is designed to promote design and construction practices that increase profitability while reducing the negative environmental impacts of buildings and improving occupant health and well-being.