After three public input sessions and two campus events, Western Michigan University presented its vision for the future of campus on Thursday, Nov. 29.
The two biggest parts of the project include the revitalization of the South Neighborhood and a new Student Center. New apartments will be built on the former site of Elmwood Apartments, and are expected to be open by the Fall of 2020.
“There is a desire to refresh the visual identity of the university along the very visible Stadium Drive corridor, providing a new face that is more fitting of a progressive, 21st century,” the University website said.
The new student center and dining facility will be built on the site of the now closed McCracken Hall and is expected to open in the Fall of 2021. The new Student Center is expected to have similar services that the Bernhard Center has, but will include a few additional features such as lounge and affinity spaces as well as student support services
“The project itself will be forward-thinking, reaching to create something unique not only to WMU’s campus but to other college campuses as well,” the University website said. “It will include the built environment, as well as new pedestrian and vehicular pathways, outdoor spaces, campus connections and other infrastructure for a truly cutting-edge user experience.”
While the new student center is expected to be a student focused place for coming together, student Nicholas Font believes the plan doesn’t go far enough in addressing various amenities in the proposed Student Center.
“They’re really cutting back on a lot of the spaces available,” Font said. “Bernhard Center has a lot of meeting rooms and area that won’t be as equal in the new student center, it’s already a struggle as it is to find rooms for meetings and events.”
Another part of the project is an area for mixed use space. Part of the proposed space includes a potential hotel and a welcome center as well as a mixed used arts district.
The entire project is expected to be completed by 2023.