Student Center and Dining Facilities

By the year 2024, Western Michigan University plans to re-imagine the southern portion of main campus, including a new student center and several other major building efforts. The new student center, located at the former site of McCracken Hall, will serve as an anchor at the northwestern edge of the larger Hilltop Commons development. McCracken Hall was demolished over the Summer of 2019 to provide a clean slate for the construction of this unique new facility.

WMU has partnered with CannonDesign, a leader in higher education facilities and student centers to design the new building, which will include:

  • Information and Welcome Center
  • Student Organization Support
  • Student Support Services
  • Affinity Spaces
  • Lounges/Flexible Space
  • Meeting Spaces
  • Retail Shops/Food Service
  • Student Meal Plan Food Service/Dining

Learn more about the project timeline in a message sent to students, message sent to employees and our fact sheet

View from West Michigan Avenue Mall


"Cedar Heart" Gathering Stair


Game Room


Transformer Lounge / Level 3 Dining Area


  • Student focused
  • Innovative, flexible design
  • Encourage social engagement
  • Architecturally distinctive and iconic
  • Minimum LEED Silver certified
  • Source of pride and tradition
  • THE community center, hang-out, WMU’s living room
  • Provide leadership development and co-curricular education
  • A unifying force that honors each individual and values diversity


The new Student Center virtual reality tour is now available for viewing at the VR Lab in the lower level of Waldo Library. The lab is open week days and most evenings. Check it out!

Can't get the VR lab?  Try this video walk-through!  

Construction WebCam

Check out our live view of the construction site!

Site LogisticS Plan

In late June 2022, Walbridge tightened up the site fence around the Student Center and Dining Facility to open up pedestrian and vehicular traffic around the site.  See the site logistics plan for more information about accessing the area and avoiding construction activities. 

Student Center and Dining FacilitIES fact sheet

  • The opening of WMU’s new Student Center and Dining Facility on Main Campus is postponed until January 2023. In the interim, the Bernhard Center and other campus facilities and amenities will serve student, employee and visitor needs. 
  • Officials from the companies responsible for the design and construction of the student center have determined there are beams that require additional fortification. Their engineering and architecture experts will complete a comprehensive analysis and solution design, and then construction of the solutions must be completed. 
  • A precise delivery date cannot yet be provided due to complexities caused by the challenges of procuring supplementary construction materials amid worldwide supply chain issues and a tight labor market for subcontractors to be identified after the solution design is completed. 
  • University leaders will share more information with the campus community no later than September or as information becomes available.

Operational adjustments

Bernhard Center study space: Bernhard will remain available as a place to study and relax in the lounges throughout the building. 

Bernhard room reservations: With the same processes and procedures that have been in place, Bernhard will continue to be available for meetings and events. Find instructions for reserving a room on its reservations webpage

Books and supplies: The current bookstore, Total Tech and Textbook Alley also will remain open in Bernhard for buying books and school supplies.

Campus café options: Cafés near central Main Campus, including Flossie’s Café in Sangren Hall and Plaza Café in Sprau Tower and numerous other campus cafés, remain available to students, employees and visitors. Students with meal plans will be served at the Valley Dining Center. Visit the full list of dining options on the Dining Service website.

Dining center meals: Students who have meal plans will use the Valley Dining Center.

Office of Student Engagement: This office will remain in its second-floor space in the Bernhard Center until it’s time to relocate to the new student center.

Student organization space: Registered Student Organizations located in Bernhard and student media located in Faunce will continue to occupy their offices. 

PNC Bank: The PNC Bank branch located in Bernhard will remain open to serve the campus community.

As the construction project proceeds, the University will share information as it becomes available, including solidifying the new opening date. We will provide the University an update on the project and timeline in early September, if not before. 

Frequently asked questions

Who is responsible for the student center today?

Design and construction of the student center is following standard industry practices. The architectural and construction firms contracted by the University are responsible for the design and construction of the building. Upon completion, the University takes possession of the building. The architectural firm is CannonDesign and the construction firm is Walbridge. Both partners are working collaboratively with Western.

What will this cost the University? 

Responsibility for delivering the student center as contracted lies with our firms. We trust and expect they will deliver per their contracts.

How is the University ensuring a quality solution?

The University is contracting with a third-party engineering firm to ensure the design solutions meet the University’s expectations and contracted deliverables. 


Questions regarding the Student Center and Dining Facilities project should be directed to Barb Vader, Project Manager: or (269) 387-8559.