Construction Timelines and Growth

00-09 | 10-19 | 20-29 | 30-39 | 40-49 | 50-59 | 60-69 | 70-79 | 80-89 | 90-99 | 00-09 | 10-



  • State legislature authorizes creation of Western State Normal School. Prospect Hill was chosen from four prospective sites by the Olmsted Brothers Landscape Services firm of Brookline, Massachusetts. The building site on Prospect Hill, $40,000 for construction, and all utilities connections were donated to the State by the Kalamazoo School Board.


Dwight B. Waldo

Dr. Dwight  Waldo

  • Dr. Dwight B. Waldo elected principal on April 1, 1904. Dr. Waldo served Western from 1904 until 1936.
  • Classes start fall, 1904, in leased facilities; groundbreaking for first building was on July 9, 1904.


  • Administration Building opens for classes on September 1, 1905.
  • The first commencement was held on June 6, 1905, before the first building was completed.


  • First departments were Civics, Domestic Science, Drawing, English, History, Manual Training, Mathematics, (Teaching) Methods, Physical Education, Psychology, Rural School and Science. A two-year training program would earn the student a life certificate for teaching.


1908 Gymnasium

Gymnasium and annex addition.

  • Addition of the gymnasium and annex to the Administration Building.
  • State appropriations to construct the new buildings totaled $84,000.
  • Dr. Waldo named president of Western State Normal School.


  • The state appropriated $60,000 for the construction of the Training School.

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1915 Science Building

Science Building and Greenhouse in the front and Heating Plant in the back.

  • First athletic field.



  • Eames Mill acquired to house Manual Training Shops. The mill would be condemned and razed in 1942.
  • Michigan's life certificate for teachers now increased to a three-year training program from two.


  • Construction of Barracks Building or Temporary Building (housing for Student Army Training Corps, later remodeled for classrooms)
  • Western introduces first four-year degree program.

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  • Kleinstuck Preserve is gifted to Western State Normal School by Mrs. Caroline Kleinstuck as a wildlife preserve. The preserve is comprised of 47.5 acres and located several blocks south of Howard Street and a block east of Oakland Drive.


  • Two wooden buildings built for additional classrooms. President Waldo had already begun acquiring more land in anticipation of the need for more classrooms and other facilities. (1921 Land Survey; 1927 Campus Map)


1924 Library Building

Library Building, 1924.

  • Library building.


  • Men's gymnasium.


  • Renamed Western State Teachers College by state legislature.

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  • Dr. Sangren first came to Western in 1923 as a member of the Education Department. He served as president from 1936 to 1960.
  • The first B.S. and B.A. programs not related to teacher-training offered.


  • Walwood Union and Dormitory for Women.


1939 Waldo Stadium

Waldo Stadium, 1939.

  • Health and Personnel Building.
  • Henry B. Vandercook Hall for Men.
  • Waldo Stadium, which included an eight-lane track, was dedicated to Western's first president.
  • Hyames Field and grandstand.

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  • Lavina Spindler Hall for Women. Lavina Spindler served at Western from 1907 to 1938. Her positions included director of the Campus School, Dean of Women and Freshman Advisor.


  • Mechanical Trades Building. The building would be demolished in 2002 during planning of the Seelye Practice Center.


  • The Theatre, later called the Oakland Recital Hall, was in continuous use from 1942 until the Shaw Theatre was built on the West Campus in 1967.
  • The Play House (Eames Mill) demolished.


  • Western acquires 155 acres of land to the west of the Michigan Central Railroad tracks.
  • Presidential residence (The Oaklands) acquired.
  • Arcadia Brook Clubhouse acquired (club house for former golf course).


  • Western's academic departments are organized into three divisions: General Education, Teacher Education and Vocational Education.


  • Four wooden buildings constructed from World War II surplus supplies, near Waldo Stadium: English Hall, Business Education Building, Farm Shop and Music Building.
  • Maintenance Building added to north end of Industrial Education Building.


The Burnhams

Smith Burnham and Ernest Burnham Halls.

  • Smith-Burnham and Ernest-Burnham Halls for Men.
  • Wooden buildings constructed from World War II surplus supplies, on Michigan Avenue: Speech and Dramatics Building, Physical Education Annex.
  • "Barracks" demolished.


  • William McCracken Hall. Dr. William McCracken was head of the Chemistry Department from 1907 until his retirement in 1939. He also served as acting president during the 1922-23 school year.
  • Harper Maybee Music Hall, demolished in 1988 during planning for the University Computer Center. Harper C. Maybee served as director of music from 1913 to 1946.



  • Blanche Draper and Lydia Siedschlag Halls.
  • Lydia Siedschlag was a long-time Art faculty (hired in 1921) and Western interior decorator from 1936 to 1958. Blanche Draper was Western's publicity director from 1919 to 1951.


  • Kanley Memorial Chapel. Construction was made possible by a request from the estate of William Kanley, a former student.


  • Administration Building.


  • Elmwood Apartments units A-H. The Elmwood Apartments were Western's first married student housing. They replaced the trailers that had been installed to house returning World War II vets and families.
  • Bertha Davis Hall. Bertha Shean Davis served first as a music instructor in 1914, then as dean of women from 1917 until 1947.
  • Davis Food Commons.


  • Renamed Western Michigan College.
  • Zimmerman Hall. Elisabeth T. Zimmerman was one of Dr. Waldo's first hires in 1905. She taught German and Latin at Western for 40 years.


  • Elmwood Apartments units J-M.
  • Physical Education Building, dedicated as the Gary Physical Education Center. Mitchell J. Gary was chairman of the Department of Physical Education, Health and Recreation from 1952 to 1957, and head of the Men's Athletics Division from 1952 to 1968. His career first started as Western as a teacher in 1928.
  • Ellsworth Hall. Frank Ellsworth was director of the Campus Elementary School from 1916 until his death in 1938.


1957 Student Center

Student Center, 1957.

  • Renamed Western Michigan University.
  • Elmwood Apartments units N-Q.
  • Student Center. It would be renamed and dedicated the John T. Bernhard Center in the late 80s, after Western's fifth president.
  • Henry Hall. Dr. Theodore S. Henry was a member of the Psychology Department from 1917 to 1948, serving as chair from 1939 to 1948.
  • Field House: dedicated as Read Field House. Herbert W. Read, hired as an assistant football coach and physical education instructor in 1919, served as the men's basketball coach from 1922 to 1950.


  • Dwight B. Waldo Library. Dr. Dwight Bryant Waldo, Western's first president, served from 1904 until 1936. Additions were constructed in 1967 and 1991.


  • University Farm deeded to WMU by state of Michigan.
  • Addition to McCracken Hall: the Paper Industries Laboratories.
  • Hoekje Hall. John C. Hoekje came to Western in 1916 as an instructor. He was appointed Registrar in 1921 and Dean of Admissions in 1945. He retired in 1955. He also directed the extension programs from 1917 to 1947.
  • North Valley Apartments.

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  • French Hall. Anna L. French was Western's head librarian from 1918 until her retirement in 1946.
  • Aviation Classroom Facility (located near the Kalamazoo Airport).


  • Dr. James W. Miller appointed president. Dr. James W. Miller was Western's third president, serving from 1961 to 1974.
  • Bigelow Hall, named after economics professor Howard F. Bigelow, who taught at Western from 1924 until his death in 1961.


  • Moore Hall. Named after Grace and Mary Alice Moore. Grace operated the campus school lunch room and then the Walwood Union food services until 1940. Mary taught Home Economics from 1911 to 1947.
  • Leslie H. Wood Hall. Leslie H. Wood was Western's first teacher of the natural sciences, and served in the Geography Department until his death in 1933.


  • North Valley Residence Unit #1, later named Goldsworth Valley Unit #1.


1964 Sangren Hall

Sangren Hall, 1964.

  • Paul V. Sangren Hall. Dr. Sangren served as Western's second president from 1936 to 1960. He first came to Western in 1923 as a faculty for the Department of Education.
  • Knollwood Building acquired to house College of Education field placement offices. The Knollwood Building was originally an elementary school for the Knollwood neighborhood, constructed in 1930.
  • Addition to Gary Physical Education Center.
  • Addition to (Bernhard) Student Center.
  • North Valley Residence Unit #2, later named Goldsworth Valley Unit #2.


  • North Valley Residence Unit #3, later named Goldworth Valley Unit #3.
  • Industrial and Engineering Technology Building. Renamed Kohrman Hall in 1980.
  • Dr. George Kohrman was director of Vocational Education and of the Division of Vocational and Practical Arts Education from 1952 to 1956, and dean of the College of Applied Sciences from 1956 to 1973.
  • The Goldsworth Valley was dedicated in 1965, in honor of John Goldsworth, director of Physical Plant and Maintenance from 1944 until his retirement in 1965.


University Auditorium, later renamed Miller Auditorium.

  • Building acquired to house Home Management. (Building demolished in 1988 during planning for the honors college building.)
  • University Auditorium, renamed Miller Auditorium, after president James W. Miller, in 1971. Grand Opening, January 12-26, 1968.
  • "The Liberal Arts Complex": Sprau Tower, Brown Hall, and Shaw Theatre, dedicated on May 4, 1968.


  • Laura Shaw Theatre.
  • Distributive Education Building, named after Dr. Adrian Trimpe, chair of the Department of Distributive Education from 1957 to 1973, after his retirement.
  • William Brown Hall. Dr. William R. Brown first came to Western's English Department in 1917. He served as chair of the English Department from 1946 to 1956.
  • George Sprau Office Tower.
  • Addition to Waldo Library.


  • Addition to Aviation Classroom Facility on Kilgore Road (near Airport).


  • Stadium Drive Apartments (200 units).
  • Health Center. Dedicated as Sindecuse Health Center in 1986, in honor of endowment donors Gordon and Elizabeth Sindecuse.
  • Addition to McCracken Hall: teaching and research labs.

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  • The Schools of Applied Arts and Sciences, Business, Education, General Studies, Graduate Studies and Liberal Arts and Sciences were renamed the Colleges of Applied Sciences, Arts and Sciences, Business, Education, General Studies and the Graduate College.
  • Student Services Building, renamed Faunce Student Services Building in the late 1970s. L. Dale Faunce was vice president for Student Services and Public Relations from 1957 to 1967.
  • Parking Ramp (by Ellsworth Hall).
  • Paul Rood Hall. Dr. Paul Rood first came to Western in 1916. He was chair of the Department of Physics from 1952 to 1964.
  • John P. Everett Office Tower. Professor Everett headed the Mathematics Department from 1914 until his retirement in 1945.


Instructional Facility Complex, 1971.

  • "Instructional Facility Complex": Robert Friedmann Hall, Willis E. Dunbar Hall, James O. Knauss Hall.
  • Dr. Friedmann was a noted historian in the Department of History from 1944 until 1961.
  • Dr. Dunbar started on the faculty in 1951, and was chair of the Department of History from 1961 to 1968. He retired in 1970.
  • Dr. James O. Knauss was a history and social science faculty from 1926 to 1956, and was head of the Division of Social Sciences in the 50s. He wrote both the 25th anniversary history and the semi-centennial history of Western ("The First Fifty Years: 1903-1953")


  • Start of project to extend Howard Street from Stadium Drive to West Main Street, with closing of West Michigan Avenue between Wood Hall and Seibert Administration Building. Culmination of campus and city planning studies started in the early 60s.


  • Acquisition of former Harding's Market for use as University Stores. Later renamed Welborn Hall.


John T. Bernhard

Dr. John  Bernhard

  • Dr. John T. Bernhard appointed president, becoming WMU's fourth president from 1974 to 1985.
  • Acquired new presidential residence, 1201 Short Road.
  • Stadium Drive Apartments (102 units).
  • Kanley Running Track.
  • "Recreation Building", dedicated as Harry W. Lawson Ice Arena and Edward A. Gabel Natatorium on September 28, 1974. Edward A. Gabel, a professor in Health, Physical Education and Recreation, became Western's first swim coach in 1956. His teams were successful throughout the 60s. Harry W. Lawson began Western's hockey program as a club team in 1958-59 and would remain as head coach through 1966. Prior to construction of the ice arena, teams played on an outdoor rink near Crosstown Parkway.


  • Waldo Stadium renovation.
  • Asylum Lake property (former Psychiatric Hospital Farm) deeded over from the state of Michigan.


  • Colony Farm deeded over from state.
  • Ellsworth Hall remodeled for use as administrative and faculty offices.


  • Knollwood Metal Building: constructed to house metal foundry and kilns for the Department of Art.
  • Ebert Field. The varsity softball field was constructed in the late 70s. The dedication was in June, 1985, honoring Fran Ebert, Western's first women's basketball coach (1964-1982) and first softball coach (1976-1985).
  • Public Safety Annex.

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Dalton Center under construction.

  • Dorothy U. Dalton Center. Dorothy Upjohn Dalton was a member of the WMU Board of Trustees from 1964 to 1972.


  • Linda Richards Building. Linda Richards served as chief of nursing at the Kalamazoo State Hospital from 1906 to 1909.
  • Herman Ostrander Infirmary Building. Dr. Herman Ostrander was superintendent of the Kalamazoo State Hospital from 1916 to 1930. The Infirmary Building was razed in 1998.
  • Henry Montague House.
  • John E. Fetzer Business Development Center. John Fetzer was honored for his longtime support of and financial generosity to Western, and his many achievements, including founding Fetzer Broadcasting and owning the Detroit Tigers.


Diether H. Haenicke

Dr. Diether  Haenicke

  • Dr. Diether H. Haenicke appointed president. He served as WMU's fifth president from 1985 to 1998. He continues to serve as a faculty member in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literature.
  • Addition to McCracken Hall for Paper Pilot Plant, component of Paper Science and Engineering programs.


  • Campus Services Building.
  • University Stores building remodeled for Paper and Printing Sciences, renamed Welborn Hall after the state senator and Western supporter who passed away in 1985.


  • Maybee Hall and Home Management Building demolished; planning begins for the new academic computing center and honors college building.
  • Building acquired for Grand Rapids Regional Center-Beltline. Dedicated on September 21, 1990. Renamed The Graduate Center-Beltline in 2001.


  • Bernhard Student Center remodeled.
  • Waldo Stadium renovation; new total of 30,000 seats.

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  • Carl and Winifred Lee Honors College, dedicated October 12, 1990. Carl Lee achieved a long and successful career with Fetzer Broadcasting, culminating as president, general manager and owner.


Waldo Library

  • Waldo Library renovation. The Charles and Mary Stewart Clock Tower links the University Computing Center (left wing) and the renovated Waldo Library (right wing). The Stewarts were the parents of Helen Stewart Frays, a 1934 graduate who bequeathed a record-setting gift to WMU in 1996.
  • College of Business building named Arnold E. Schneider Hall in 1993.
  • Gilmore House donated to the University.


  • Walwood Hall renovation.
  • Linda Richards Building re-acquired by state. Building renovation and addition for Michigan State University's Kalamazoo Center for Medical Studies (later named the University Medical and Health Sciences Center).


  • Miller Auditorium remodeled, with addition of 'bridge' to new Parking Ramp.
  • Parking Ramp #2.


  • Addition to and remodeling of Gary Center; renamed Student Recreation Center.
  • Renovation of Read Fieldhouse.
  • Shaw Theatre remodel and addition, renamed Irving S. Gilmore Theatre Complex.
  • Robert M. Beam Power Plant acquired.


  • Parking Services Building acquired.


  • Sindecuse Health Center renovation.
  • Ernest Wilbur Building leased from Kalamazoo Regional Psychiatric Hospital for Nursing and Occupational Therapy.
  • Administration and Flight Operations Building, Aviation Education Center and Aircraft Maintenance Center. School of Aviation, Battle Creek, Michigan.


  • Power plant remodeled.
  • Oakland Recital Hall building (The Theatre) remodeled; recital hall named Campus Cinema.


Elson S. Floyd

Dr. Elson Floyd

  • Dr. Elson S. Floyd appointed president, served as Western's sixth president from 1998 to 2003.
  • Renovation of Waldo Stadium; Bill Brown Alumni Football Center.
  • Wood Hall renovation.
  • Property transfer from state—Kalamazoo Regional Psychiatric Hospital, including Ernest Wilbur Building and the Northwest Unit on Blakeslee Street.
  • Oakland Drive Campus: Area bounded by Howard Street, Oakland Drive, Oliver Street, and Stadium Drive.
  • West Hills Athletic Club acquired.


  • Diether H. Haenicke Hall. Dr. Haenicke was Western's fifth president, serving from 1985 to 1998.

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  • Parkview Campus.
  • Oakland Drive Campus becomes new campus designation for area bounded by Oliver and Howard Streets and Oakland and Stadium Drives. Site of proposed new College of Health and Human Services Building.
  • Additional facilities for College of Aviation: Simulated flight Building and Student Services Building.
  • Arboretum Apartments: Phase I.


  • Facade of Oakland Gymnasium, built in 1925, retained to form eastern wall of new Indoor Practice Facility; remainder of building demolished.
  • Energy Resource Center at the Parkview Campus.
  • Arboretum Apartments: Phase II.
  • NexTurf installed in Waldo Stadium.


  • Brink Printing Services building demolished. The Brink building, or the "Mechanical Trades Building", was built in 1941.
  • WMU Southwest: Regional Campus in Benton Harbor, Michigan, opened in October 25, 2002.
  • Paper Coating Pilot Plant at the Parkview Campus.


Judith I. Bailey

Dr. Judith Bailey

  • Dr. Judith I. Bailey appointed president, being the WMU's seventh president.
  • Seelye Center—Indoor Practice Facility.
  • College of Engineering building at the Parkview Campus. It was first open for classes in the fall semester, 2003. The grand opening and dedication was held on September 12, 2003.


WMU Main Campus West Entrance

WMU Main Campus West Entrance

  • West Entrance Development: roundabout and boulevard.


  • College of Health and Human Services building.


  • Campus Design Charrette.
  • Gordon and Elizabeth Sindecuse Health Center remodeling.
  • Dalton Promenade Renovation.
  • Dr. Deither H. Haenicke serves as interim president from August 15, 2006 through July 1, 2007.


John M. Dunn

Dr. John Dunn

  • Chemistry Building.
  • Richmond Center for Visual Arts.
  • Dr. John M. Dunn becomes WMU's eighth president on July 1, 2007.


  • Brown Hall Renovation.
  • South Kohrman Hall renovation to house studios and offices for the School of Art.
  • Central Kohrman is being renovated for academic classrooms and offices.
  • Robert J. Bobb Stadium.



  • Western View Campus Apartments.
  • New Sangren Hall Construction Project.
  • Capital project to replace original Sangren Hall.


  • Completion of new Sangren Hall.


  • Completion Zhang Legacy Collections.


  • Demolition of Hoekje and Bigelow Halls and construction process started.
  • East Hall Alumni Center Remodeling Project started.


  • Construction process started for the new Valley Dining Center in the Goldsworth Valley area.

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