Miami University


Student Center Feasibility Study, Program Management Process Review, And Business Planning

By the summer of 2007, Miami University’s 110,000 square foot Shriver Center had served as a University Center serving the needs of Miami’s students, faculty, staff, visitors, and the surrounding community for 50 years. The university recognized Shriver Center’s limitations, including a lack of student-focused spaces. As a result, it hired B&D as part of the WTW Student Center Planning Team to plan for a new center to respond to the needs of today’s fast-paced and technologically-savvy students. We completed the programming analysis for the university with an approach designed to determine the demand for student life facilities within the current market conditions. Our analysis included a strategic asset value analysis “visioning” session, student focus groups, a benchmarking analysis of the university’s peers, and an Internet-based student survey. A demand model was developed to project demand utilization for a new student center based on data collected in the survey. Preliminary concepts included a central on-campus location, a 600-seat theater, group meeting spaces, and retail and dining areas. In 2011, the university broke ground on the Armstrong Student Center.

In 2011 we were selected to conduct a third-party review of its program management procedures using the university’s latest bid process for a new Student Center as a case study. Having completed approximately 125 projects totaling $117 million since 2008, the university’s Physical Facilities Department wished to ensure that its policies and procedures were up to date going forward. Our work plan included a review of the university’s overall process documents and interviews with university staff and associated firms. An analysis of the Student Union project’s documentation also was conducted to examine quality, schedule, and budget procedures. After completing a review and analysis of these manuals and documents, we defined areas for further process development. Specifically, sign-offs by the university’s Core Committee were needed at all critical milestones in the development process before funding was accessed and the next phase began. Another key to managing the budget and scope of the project was adherence to the program of architectural requirements and to fixed limit construction costs. Our final project report also highlighted the need for careful coordination between the university and the state of Ohio’s new procurement procedures. In 2012 we were retained to develop a business plan for the 210,000 SF, $46 million Armstrong Student Center. Phase 1 (154,000 SF) opened in January 2014, while Phase 2 (56,000 SF) is currently in the design phase.


Cost continues to be the determining factor whether Miami University students support the proposed Bicentennial Student Center (BSC). Results from the recent BSC financial assessment survey, funded by Associated Student Government (ASG) and conducted by Brailsford & Dunlavey, were a topic of discussion at Tuesday’s ASG meeting.