Two halls that have housed thousands of Western Michigan University students are in the process of being demolished this week.
The demolition of the Bigelow and Hoekje halls was announced in October 2012, in order to make way for new residence halls. Hoekje Hall fell to dust and rubble late last week. Bigelow Hall demolition began on Oct. 14 with crews working through Tuesday.
WMU is replacing the two halls that have stood off of Dormitory Road for over 50 years with new residential halls that feel more like a home, Diane Anderson, vice president of student affairs at WMU, said at the July meeting of the Board of Trustees.
The new halls will include home-like features such as a central living room and kitchens. The idea of the new halls, according to Anderson, is to create more of a neighborhood feel across campus.
The budget for the new residence hall construction project is $48 million, executive director of university relations Cheryl Roland said in an e-mail. Roland said that funding for new residence halls, as well as dining halls, "...comes from a portion of room and board charges paid over a period of many years by the students who live in and use those facilities."
The new residence hall replacing Bigelow and Hoekje is slated for occupancy in fall 2015, Roland said.
Prior to the demolition of the two halls, a ceremony was held over the summer in the parking lot of Hoekje Hall to say goodbye to buildings. Former residents, hall directors and other community members gathered to hear family members of both of the buildings' namesakes speak, as well as WMU President John Dunn.
In the State of the University address on Oct. 4, Dunn said that “[campus neighborhoods] will show a unique character of different periods of our campus and our community.”
Editor's note: The article has been revised to reflect the budget for the construction project of the building of the new residence halls.