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Legislature approves first phase of Sangren renovation

Sept. 26, 2008

KALAMAZOO--Late yesterday, the Michigan Legislature gave final approval to a capital outlay bill that includes $11.7 million for the first phase of renovation to Western Michigan University's Sangren Hall.

The bill is now headed to Gov. Jennifer Granholm's desk for her signature. If the governor signs the bill, WMU will need to match the funds with $3.9 million of University funds to reach the $15.6 million total cost of the first phase of the renovation project.

The total renovation project will ultimately be a $56 million initiative to retool Sangren. The 44-year-old building is WMU's largest and most heavily used classroom building, serving students in a variety of disciplines. It also is home to the College of Education and WMU's teacher preparation programs. The University is seeking an additional $28.3 million in state capital outlay funding to finsih the project.

Completed in 1964, Sangren Hall has been on WMU's building priority list for renovation for more than a decade. The 200,000-square-foot building is at the heart of the WMU campus, and its lecture halls and classrooms are used by departments in several colleges.

"Bringing Sangren Hall up to the standards our students need and deserve has been a long-sought goal, and we're enormously thankful to the legislature for funding the first step in this effort," says WMU President John M. Dunn. "This is the building where we educate the young people who will be part of our future work force as well as those who will teach Michigan's next generation of citizens. It's structurally sound but in dire need of modernization and the kind of tools and technology our students will be expected to use as young professionals."

Dunn says only six universities had projects included in the capital outlay final legislation. He credits the efforts of Sen. Tom George and a number of other legislators from across southwest Michigan for WMU's success in that process.

Media contact: Cheryl Roland, (269) 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

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