April 26, 2000
LANSING, Mich. -- After more than 20 years in downtown Lansing, Western Michigan University's Lansing Regional Center is relocating to the Capital City's near west side.
The relocation was approved April 20 by WMU's Board of Trustees when it authorized the University to enter into an agreement with Auto-Owners Insurance Co. for up to 10 years to lease space in the Verndale Office Park, 6105 W. Saint Joseph Hwy.
The regional center's offices and classroom facilities have been located in the Community Services Center near the state capitol since 1991. WMU as well as other tenants of the building are relocating to make way for the Michigan Economic Development Corp., which plans to occupy the entire structure. The regional center move will take effect Aug. 1, after the University's current lease expires.
"In a way, we regret leaving the central business district because we've been a part of downtown Lansing for so long," says Dr. Frank Rapley, interim dean of WMU's Division of Continuing Education. "However, this move will permit us to expand the number of our classrooms and add computer and interactive television classrooms.
"We needed to upgrade our teaching, learning and advising facilities in those and other ways," Rapley says. "We have the opportunity to do so by moving to Delta Township. We're confident our students in Lansing will be very pleased with their new facility."
The building WMU will move into is part of a large office development owned by Auto-Owners. The development is located within walking distance of the Lansing Sheraton Hotel at the intersection of I-496 and Creyts Road.
The University will occupy more than 10,000 square feet of space on the second floor of its new building. Auto-Owners will make a substantial investment in constructing the necessary offices and classrooms. Construction is scheduled to begin no later than May 15.
In addition to providing improved spaces for instruction, relocating to the facility will offer several other benefits for students who are earning WMU degrees locally, notes Gus Breymann, director of the Lansing Regional Center.
"We hope to consolidate most or all of our undergraduate and graduate course offerings in one location for the first time since we began offering courses in Lansing in 1974," Breymann says. "Also, the Verndale Office Park is conveniently located near a freeway interchange and offers students and faculty members ample free parking in the evening and on the weekends-when most of our classes are held."
Breymann notes that the move does not mean WMU will be relinquishing its connection to downtown Lansing.
"We have a longstanding association with Lansing Community College that allows many mid-career students to complete their undergraduate degrees without leaving the tri-county area," he explains. "We expect that to continue, along with our association with state government, and we'll be retaining our agreement with LCC to provide extensive library services."
WMU established the Lansing Regional Center in 1979 and annually serves 1,700 area executives, government employees and other students. The University offers eight undergraduate and graduate programs in Lansing. These include a nationally accredited master of public administration degree, the largest Lansing program, and a doctor of philosophy degree in public affairs and administration, one of Michigan's few off-campus doctoral programs.
For more information about the Lansing Regional Center's program offerings or relocation plans, contact Breymann at (517) 372-8114, or visit their web page at <www.wmich.edu/lansing>.
Media contact: Jeanne Baron, 616 387-8400, firstname.lastname@example.org
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