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Public invited to view ideas for Fountain Plaza

May 18, 2006

KALAMAZOO--Public presentations of visions for the future of Fountain Plaza at Miller Auditorium by four architectural firms conclude a one-day "design charrette," or planning session, Friday, May 19, at Western Michigan University.

The presentations will be made from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. in 2208 Dunbar Hall. The design proposals will focus on the Fountain Plaza and may also include suggestions for the east-west axis of the WMU West Campus, from the Student Recreation Center to Haenicke Hall.

Additions of a new chemistry building and the Richmond Center for Visual Arts on the central West Campus will affect pedestrian traffic patterns, use of open space and a variety of other considerations, including storm-water retention.

Since its original development in 1968, Fountain Plaza has been unofficially known at various times as "Miller Plaza" and "Fine Arts Plaza." The plaza derives its name from the 80,000-gallon fountain, which dominates that part of campus. Fountain Plaza is a popular outdoor venue for many student and community activities, in part because the plaza is surrounded by the majority of WMU's concert and theatre performance spaces, including 3,500-seat Miller Auditorium.

Students and faculty from four Michigan universities will be paired with one of the four architectural firms, with which each institution has had some past relationship. The firms and universities associated with each are: Allegretti Architects of St. Joseph, Mich., and Andrews University; DSA Architects of Berkley, Mich., and Lawrence Technological University; Hamilton-Anderson Associates of Detroit and the University of Detroit Mercy; and Progressive Architects from Grand Rapids, Mich., and the University of Michigan.

Representatives from the WMU Office of Campus Planning and other university offices also will participate in Friday's design charrette.

Charrette is French, meaning "cart," and its use in this context refers to 19th century Paris schools, where a cart would be pushed from room to room, collecting the final projects of art or architectural students.

For more information, contact Evie Asken, director of campus planning, at evie.asken@wmich.edu or (269) 387-4082.

Media contact: Thom Myers, (269) 387-8400, thom.myers@wmich.edu

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