Demolition on Western Michigan University’s “Little Three” dormitory village is set to begin in the first week of May 2021. The deconstruction is scheduled to be complete in September.
Little Three consists of Zimmerman, Davis and French Hall. The space is being cleared in preparation for a fresh take on the Hilltop Village which has housed students for sixty years.
“Once we are further along with that visioning process, it will be helpful to have the space ready to go,” said Diane Anderson, vice president of Student Affairs. “It takes time to vacate buildings and prepare them for demolition.”
The demolition of Little Three is a part of the Hilltop Village plan to reconstruct the entire south neighborhood of the university, per the South Neighborhood’s Master Plan Market Feasibility Analysis.
In January 2020, it was announced the dorms would not open for housing after the spring 2020 semester due to the development of the Hilltop Village. Many students expressed concerns for the closure at the first 2020 Board of Trustees meeting in January.
Students, employees and faculty also expressed confusion with the closure of the residence halls to Western Herald in February 2020. Many did not anticipate the dorms to be closed earlier than they expected and on such short notice.
The analysis said students were interested in having updated residence halls on campus. It mentioned students expressed the need for air conditioning and natural lighting, along with game rooms and centers for social and academic collaboration.
Around 25% of WMU students lived on campus in 2018 and 91% of first-year students lived in residence halls. It added WMU was in the design phase with Stantec, a professional services company, for new student housing, with a minimum of 293 beds.
The total number of beds in the South neighborhood is expected to decrease by 552 beds and house mainly upper-year students. There were 1,825 residence hall beds in the South Neighborhood in 2016. The analysis cites 1,127 beds for the future, per the analysis.
Davis Hall was built in 1954 and can house around 169 students, Zimmerman Hall was built in 1955 and can hold around 160 students and French Hall was built in 1960 and can hold 157 students.
It was added the total number of beds in the South neighborhood is expected to decrease by 552 beds and house mainly upper-year students. There were 1,825 residence hall beds in the South Neighborhood in 2016. The analysis cites 1,127 beds for the future.