Dunbar Hall undergoing transformation in renovation project

Dunbar Hall, an aging, heavily-employed classroom building used by more than a dozen academic programs, is undergoing a $43 million renovation, supported by $30 million in state capital outlay dollars. Dozens of College of Arts and Sciences courses are typically taught in Dunbar, the second most-utilized teaching facility on campus, each year.

Together with Friedmann and Knauss Halls, Dunbar was originally developed in response to booming enrollment at the University during the 1960s, and helped to meet the growing demand for classroom space. Although the five and a half story, 78,000 square-foot building has served the University well over its almost 50-year lifetime, it no longer provides adequate, accessible space to support teaching and learning.

The project, set to begin in spring 2020, was put on hold due to the pandemic. Design has since resumed, with interior demolition beginning in fall 2021, and University officials expecting classes to resume in Dunbar Hall in fall 2023.


The overhaul of the building includes completely reconfigured classrooms to support active, engaged learning, and the addition of intentional spaces for students to gather for informal learning and study. The renovation also includes significant upgrades to the existing utility infrastructure, shared with Friedmann and Knauss Halls, to maximize energy efficiency and better align with WMU’s sustainability mission. It is anticipated that the building will attain a minimum of LEED Silver certification, with the goal of achieving Gold or even Platinum status.

The renovated building will house a modern communication media suite and dance studio. The School of Communication media suite will include a TV studio, control room, journalism room, and an audio production and podcast studio.

Dunbar Hall will also include a remote advising office for the College of Arts and Sciences, allowing students to stop in between classes to receive personalized one-on-one academic and career advising.

Read more in the Alumni Magazine