Dunbar Hall

Dunbar Hall is set to open to students Fall 2023.

Many of Western Michigan University's older buildings are being updated to better suit the needs of students among these buildings is Dunbar Hall, which is set to open Fall 2023.

The renovations were put on hold in May 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but construction and design have started up again, delaying the opening by one year.

The project budget of $43.7 million has been consistent, but they will not know indefinitely if costs will be over or under that price until renovations are completed. The 78,670 square foot building will receive a modernized look with 9,817 added square ft. The plans also include increased sustainability and inclusivity. 

David Dakin, project manager, expressed efficiency is a large part of the renovations. The building will have brand new heating, cooling and insulation to replace the mechanics, which were originally built in 1971. 

The new plumbing will reduce water use by over 30%, energy consumption will be reduced by over 50% and new LED lighting will also be installed, per the project summary. 

“We hired experts that are keeping up to date on the best practices of classrooms along with our academic folks here in developing the type of classrooms that we will utilize,” Dakin said. “So it’s the latest and greatest.”

Inclusivity and accessibility will also be an important factor of the construction. 

“From my perspective, the accessibility and inclusiveness comes from the addition that reconfigured where the elevator is so that someone with physical challenges can come in any of the three entrances,” Dakin said. 

Informal instruction spaces are another feature of the modernized building for student use. The original building design did not have a space for students to talk to peers and meet with instructors, the renovations will have a focus on those areas.

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