On March 9, 2007 Western Michigan University officially opened and dedicated the new James W. and Lois I. Richmond Center for Visual Arts to the public. Named for philanthropists James and Lois Richmond, this exciting new venue is a major cultural asset for WMU, southwest Michigan, and the Midwest region.
The Richmond Center was designed by the architecture and engineering firm SmithGroup, Inc., of Detroit. CSM Group of Kalamazoo was the Construction Manager for the project.
The building contains 44,000 square feet over three floors. The first floor houses four galleries:
The first floor also houses a multimedia classroom, the print collection resource room, the director of exhibitions office, and exhibition workrooms. The second floor houses the main offices for the Frostic School of Art, the student lounge and a large tiered, multimedia lecture room. The third floor is home to the graphic design program and houses the Design Center for Education and Research, a conference room with digital flat screen projection, faculty offices, the graphic design classroom with digital projection, B.F.A. studio, and a critique space designed for installations and collaborative group projects. In addition it houses the College of Fine Arts Resource Center and Print Center.
Construction of the Richmond Center was phase one of a two-part effort to relocate the School of Art from several old and outdated locations on campus — Sangren Hall, Knollwood Building and East Hall. Phase two was the renovation of the south bar of Kohrman Hall, vacated by the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences in 2003, as classroom, office, and studio space. The two buildings, the Richmond Center and South Kohrman Hall, connect on the second floors to form the Frostic School of Art.