Nov. 24, 1999
KALAMAZOO -- A formal November groundbreaking on Western Michigan University's Lee Baker Farm marked the beginning of development for the University's new engineering complex that will house WMU's engineering programs and attract high technology firms to the area.
"What we do this afternoon is emblematic of a new kind of partnership between Western Michigan University, our neighbors here in Kalamazoo and indeed the entire region and state," said WMU President Elson S. Floyd.
Other speakers at the groundbreaking concurred. "Combining our resources will bring not only a stronger WMU, but a stronger Kalamazoo community as well," said Craig DeNooyer of Southwest Michigan First.
The ceremony took place on University property at the southwest corner of Parkview Avenue and Drake Road on the afternoon of Nov. 16.
Floyd also talked about the vision "we have for this exciting new engineering and research complex. It is a vision that will bring to the I-94 corridor cutting edge technology that will stimulate new forms of economic activity for the benefit of the entire region and state."
Dr. Daniel M. Litynski, dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences, praised the many supporters who made the project possible. "We gather to break ground so that a new engineering complex can rise from the rich soil here in Kalamazoo...the result of the spirit and dedication of many."
In addition to Floyd, DeNooyer and Litynski, ceremony participants were Joan H. Krause, chair of the WMU Board of Trustees; Kalamazoo Mayor Robert B. Jones; Jeffrey Kaczmarek, senior vice president of business services for the Michigan Economic Development Corp.; and Robert L. O'Boyle of the Kalamazoo firm O'Boyle Cowell Blalock & Associates Inc., who is the project architect for the site plan.
The group broke ground for site work that will provide an access road into the complex, which eventually will include the University's new $50 million College of Engineering and Applied Sciences building, along with a new paper and printing science teaching and research facility, and a business, research and technology park.
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