$500,000 renovation of Miami Middletown library adds quiet, tech space

Chris Shugart doesn’t miss the old layout of the library at Miami University Middletown campus before its recent $500,000 renovation.

The senior is sitting in a cushioned chair in a new private study room with a window view of campus as he studies.

“I enjoy the privacy available to be able to come into this room and kind of go into my own world and get a lot of studying down before class,” Shugart said.

The renovation marks the biggest change to the library at the regional Miami campus in the past decade, according to university officials, and has added a creative-technology space, numerous discussion and tech-connected rooms and staff offices.

Prior to the changes, which moved book stacks out of the space now featuring small study and conference rooms, students were forced to sit at long tables. Conversations — even low those in low volumes — spilled onto others nearby trying to study.

“It was noisy,” Shugart said.

John Burke, long-time director of the Garner-Harvey Library, isn’t nostalgic either.

“Students before didn’t have access to study rooms to meet in groups or work individually in some peaceful space to work on projects,” he said.

“Essentially the space is the same but it’s the change of the space,” said Burke of the $500,000 renovation paid for in part by state grants. “We moved from having two study rooms to having a total of 10.

The interior alterations took place between May and August of this year.

Miami University, which is Butler County’s largest employer, also has a regional campus in Hamilton and a learning center in West Chester Twp.

The Middletown campus is celebrating its 50th anniversary as Ohio's first regional campus.

Brennan Burks, spokesman for the campus, said “the renovation of the Gardner-Harvey library is the latest example of how Miami Regionals is dedicated to improving access to our students.”

“Working with a generous grant from the Ohio Department of Education, our staff has redeveloped an essential space on campus to offer students even better opportunities to learn, to engage, to be curious and to create,” said Burks.

Miami Middletown student Dania AlGhanim also likes the new library arrangement, especially the small conference rooms.

“You can do projects together or team work or something like that and these rooms are so helpful for that,” said AlGhanim. “It’s quiet and you can’t hear anything outside the room.”

“This has been tremendous to see these changes,” Burke said.

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