'Heritage' and community values celebrated during Homecoming weekend

Contact: Cheryl Roland
Photo of WMU's Heritage Hall.

Heritage Hall as viewed from the west

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Members of the campus and Kalamazoo communities will get their first look this month inside a renovation effort that has stirred conversation areawide and left people eager to see the interior of the building Kalamazoo has watched re-emerge as "the Acropolis of Kalamazoo."

Heritage Hall, the birthplace of WMU, is set for a gala grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony from 2 to 4 p.m. Friday, Oct. 23. The ceremony will be followed by self-guided tours. Additional self-guided tour opportunities are set for 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 24, and 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 25. All are free and open to the public, and no reservations are required.

Tour opportunities

While no advance registration is required, the Friday grand opening is expected to attract thousands eager to be among the first to tour the facility. Off-site parking and a shuttle service has been arranged to ensure visitors can easily attend. A special commemorative item will be distributed to the first 3,000 people in attendance.

Shuttles that day will run on a continuous loop from nearby parking lots 10, 11, 12, 95, 102, 104 and 105. The special event shuttles will be available on Friday only from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. and will drop guests off at Heritage Hall.

Complete details on the three days of grand opening events, parking and shuttles can be found at http://bit.ly/1OpYWih.

On Saturday, parking in lots near Heritage Hall will be closed or in use by homecoming tailgaters. People who wish to tour Heritage Hall that day are encouraged to park at Lawson Arena and take a free shuttle to Heritage Hall. Sunday parking should be readily available in lots near Heritage Hall.

Heritage Hall

Photo of WMU's Heritage Hall as seen through the facade of North Hall.

Heritage Hall as seen through the facade of North Hall

The newly renamed Heritage Hall has graced the top of Prospect Hill overlooking downtown Kalamazoo since it opened in 1905—just two years after the University was established. Following a 16-month renovation, the building will now take its place once again as an active location for daily campus activities.

"If you see Heritage Hall and your heart doesn't skip a beat, you may want to check your pulse to see if you have one," Jim Thomas, vice president for development and alumni relations, told a local audience recently. He was describing reactions he's hearing from community members to seeing just the exterior of the newly renovated home to the WMU Alumni Center.

The building's return to service is a conscious reflection and celebration of the community values that gave birth to WMU and the close connection between the University and its home community over the past 112 years.

"It has been our intention to transform the University's birthplace into a facility that serves both the Kalamazoo and campus communities and showcases that relationship," says Thomas. "Great care has been taken to preserve the building's historic character while promoting the timeless values and power of hard work, education and striving to improve the human condition."

For more news, arts and events, visit wmich.edu/news.

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