Miami U. launches $72 million renovation of campus building

Official says: ‘This is a true kind of gut rehab. Everything will really enhance the user experience.’

Credit: Scott Kissell

Credit: Scott Kissell

OXFORD — A $72 million renovation of Miami University’s Bachelor Hall has started and will mean some school departments, and hundreds of their students, will have to take classes in other campus buildings when classes start in August.

Bachelor Hall, which is 46 years old, houses the departments of English; History; Media, Journalism, and Film; and Philosophy, as well as the Humanities Center, the American Culture and English Program, and the Ohio Writing Project for students on Miami’s main Oxford campus.

Renovations are currently underway on Bachelor Hall with a two-year construction process that will consolidate space, modernize classrooms, and create an environment for scholarly work and interdepartmental collaboration, according to a statement from Miami officials.

The renovation and modernization of the building will see its 20 classrooms and 141 offices upgraded and the hall’s square footage expanded from 112,000 to 120,418 feet by the project’s end in 2026.

“It’s a big moment for us,” said Renée Baernstein, incoming dean of the College of Arts and Science.

“The building tries to convey a sense of community and pulling people together. There are a lot of shared spaces, places for interacting, and modern classrooms. Students and faculty are really going to get a lot out of it,” said Baernstein.

Miami officials said Harris Hall, Laws Hall, and Upham Hall will serve as temporary space until renovations are complete. The Department of Mathematics, previously in Bachelor, will now reside permanently in Upham.

New features coming to Bachelor Hall will include a modern TV studio; the “Bachelor Great Room,” a 68-person multifunctional space for events and teaching; a dedicated event space for the Humanities Center and an atrium, a four-story space that will provide visual and physical connectivity to the core of the building.

University architect Robert Bell said one of the biggest changes will be enclosing the existing courtyard into the atrium space, with a large skylight bringing natural light into the building.

“It’s a real workhorse of a building for us,” Bell said. “Getting a 21st century space will be a good experience for the people in that building.”

Bell noted the crosswalk closest to the Cook Field parking lot will be closed during the process, with pedestrians being asked to cross to the east.

The $72 million project includes mechanical, electrical, plumbing, life safety, and AV/IT systems updates, as well as infrastructure work.

“This is a true kind of gut rehab,” Bell said. “Everything will really enhance the user experience.”

Bachelor was built in 1978, and while there have been updates to the building over the years, this is the first major overhaul in its history, said school officials.

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