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History of the Voice of America Learning Center
Miami University’s Voice of America Learning Center is on the western edge of the former Voice of America Bethany Relay Station.
Opened in 1944, the Relay Station broadcast continuously to 1995, reaching five continents in 53 languages at the peak of its operation.
Photo: Voice of America Bethany Relay Station
In March 1995, after the VOA announced the decommissioning of the Bethany Station, Miami began working with West Chester Township and Butler County officials in making application to receive part of the land for public benefit. In July 1996, Miami applied to the U.S. Department of Education Federal Real Property Assistance Program for 20 acres on the western perimeter of the site, and received title to the land in December 2000.
With $1.5 million from the State of Ohio through capital appropriations, Miami issued $6 million in bonds to finance the balance of the project. Building designs were unveiled at a Presidential Luncheon hosted by President and Mrs. Hodge in March 2007, and the official groundbreaking took place on September 5. Construction began that fall, and the cupola was raised on July 23 the following year.
As the final touches were put on the building, staff moved in in October 2008, and the ribbon cutting ceremony took place November. The first day of classes at the VOALC was January 12, 2009, and the formal dedication of the Learning Center took place in April.
The building’s architecture echoes the neo-Georgian style of the Miami University Oxford campus, complete with the signature cupola atop the building which is lit at night.
Additional historical information about the VOA Bethany Relay Stations is available through the Ohio Historical Society's online Ohio History Central project. You can also view an online video about the history of the Voice of America Bethany Relay station, produced for the National Voice of America Museum of Broadcasting.