The interior of WMU’s Dunbar Hall.

The interior of WMU’s Dunbar Hall.

Western Michigan University’s Dunbar Hall is expected to undergo an interior renovation to upgrade major systems to make the building more suited for the 21st century.

While the process for the renovation is in its very early stages, the project is expected to begin in the Spring of 2020. David Dakin, director of planning, space management and capital projects said Dunbar has been in need of renovation for quite some time.

“It was identified many years ago that it was due for renovation,” Dakin said. “Through the years when projects such as Sangren Hall were done, Dunbar moved up the list.”

Dunbar Hall was built in 1971 and while it was once suited to academic learning and systems were functioning properly, Dakin now says the systems and setting in Dunbar needs to be updated.

“We did an evaluation of the building a number of years ago,” Dakin said. “We determined that its systems were past their life expectancy and recognized the building no longer is configured in a way that accommodates instruction today or in the near future.”

Once it was determined that the building was out of date, it was put on the Capital Outlay list for construction projects. With the project approved by the state, the construction process begins.

“The actual construction is a year away,” Dakin said. “We have to go through programming, design all those things you do up to bidding the project.”

While state funding has been secured for this project, there have been more gaps in securing funding for various buildings.

With the building no longer suitable for current day instruction the goal of the project is to be up to date with current times.

“The goal is to essentially update it, we’ll meet with the campus community faculty, staff, students,” Dakin said. “We will take all that input and configure the building in a way that will support future teaching.”

This construction project is in its very early stages, Dakin laid out what is expected to happen within the next few months.

“Over the next couple months, we’ll go through the selection process for the outside A&E firm, another couple month to do the programming for the building, about three months of schematic design, a couple months of design development and two to three months for construction documents.” Dakin said. “Then we will bid the work so over the next year is really the programming and design process.”

As long as no surprises are found in the Dunbar, the construction has an expected completion date of Fall 2022.

While an interior renovation is needed at this point, this can change during the process if something was found that wasn’t found during the inspection.

“We don’t believe the exterior or structure needs any substantial work, we may put new windows into the building and enhance the insulation of the exterior walls but we are not planning on taking it down.” Dakin said. “There is always a possibility that once you start to tear the inside of the building down you find something you didn’t realize was there.”

When renovating the building, Dakin mentions they will be looking into ways to use environmentally friendly materials and more energy efficient resources such as the energy used to make a room comfortable as well as the enhancing of insulation, these resources are expected to be more efficient and cost friendly.


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