Trustees authorize acquisition of property adjacent to campus

Contact: Cheryl Roland

KALAMAZOO—Acting at its Jan. 22 meeting, the Western Michigan University Board of Trustees authorized University officials to move forward with the acquisition of 10 homes on pieces of property immediately adjacent to the north edge of WMU's East Campus.

By unanimous vote, trustees approved a resolution that will allow the University to "negotiate and execute the necessary documents" to acquire the parcels. Two of the parcels are located on Oakland Drive, and the remaining eight are on Bellevue Place, which runs east off of Oakland Drive. The University and the owner of the properties have already negotiated a tentative agreement on a sale price of $370,000.

The parcels have been listed for sale since late December. With the board's approval secured, completion of the deal is contingent on satisfactory title review, an inspection that includes environmental conditions and having the properties vacated by closing, which needs to take place within 60 days. The University intends to demolish all 10 houses shortly after acquisition.

In presenting the recommendation to the board, WMU Vice President for Business and Finance Jan J.Van Der Kley pointed out that the move falls squarely into the University's strategic plan and the goal of expanding its footprint around its oldest and most historic facilities. Historic East Hall, the University's birthplace, is located just up the hill from the 10 pieces of property and is about to be renovated for use as an alumni center. That center is scheduled to open in 2015.

"We expect the acquisition and demolition of these houses to substantially improve the appearance of an area that serves as the formal gateway to our East and Oakland Drive campuses," says Van Der Kley.

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