Central Campus Open Space

As the new Student Center and Dining Facility prepares to open its doors, there was a desire to refresh the open space north of the building, portions of which had not been updated since the 1970s.  To this end, a large swath of area between the West Michigan round-about and Sangren Hall was redeveloped over the summer of 2022, to encourage gathering, improve circulation and upgrade utilities.  Improvements include the installation of new energy-efficient lighting to increase safety and reduce light pollution, and rain gardens to capture and manage stormwater.  Built-in benches and seat walls along the central spine, along with free-standing, covered ‘seating pods’ with charging capability encourage gathering and lingering along the mall, while new landscaping provides beautiful views and shady areas for hanging out with friends.  A central paved area offers a stopping point along the way, inset with a signature ‘W’ to show the University’s never-ending Bronco pride.

WMU engaged SmithGroup and Walbridge for this Design/Build effort, and, through a series of Town Hall meetings engaged both the campus and broader Kalamazoo communities to provide input on the design.  Construction began in May of 2022 and was completed for Fall Semester.  


  • Design this space to be 'the place' you remember when you visit campus
  • Improve open space for gathering and informal uses
  • Incorporate something to celebrate the diversity of our student body
  • Plan for future uses such as ESPN Game Day
  • Make pathways clearer and more direct
  • Incorporate sustainable design