Planning firms ID'd, first public input session on BTR-2 set for Dec. 17

Contact: Cheryl Roland

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Western Michigan University has selected a design team made up of the firms Fishbeck, Thompson, Carr & Huber and O’Boyle, Cowell, Blalock, & Associates to develop a design plan for the expansion of the University's Business Technology and Research Park onto the property known as the Colony Farm Orchard.

The architectural engineering and landscape architecture firms have already scheduled the first in a planned series of opportunities for public input. The initial session is set for 6 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 17, at Oshtemo Township Hall, 7275 W. Main St.

The forum, say principals with the firms, is an opportunity for members of the community to learn more about Phase 2 of the successful BTR Park development and share their ideas for making the addition as successful as the first phase.

The FTC&H-OBCA team was selected following a search and competitive bid process launched by WMU in August.  The team been charged with developing a site plan and the infrastructure needed to turn the 44-acre site adjacent to the original park into a home for more private sector partners.

The process will include three public sessions including the Dec. 17 inaugural forum. Additional sessions will focus on design direction and a review of the final designs. The long-term plan is for construction to begin in fall 2016 and the project completed by June 2017. 

Fishebeck, Thompson, Carr & Huber has six locations around Michigan, including one in the WMU BTR Park, and a seventh location in Cincinnati. O’Boyle, Cowell, Blalock & Associates is located in Kalamazoo. The two companies formed the design team that developed the site plan for Phase I of the BTR Park. That development has been repeatedly honored for its environmentally sensitive design.

In addition to selecting the two firms for site design, the University has named a nine-member project advisory committee to work with the design team. That committee is made up of community members as well as WMU faculty, staff and student representatives.

Business Technology and Research Park

WMU's BTR Park was launched in 2000 and is now full, with more than 40 private-sector firms that focus on the life sciences, advanced engineering and information technology. Companies in the park are usually actively engaged with the University's academic programs and students--activities made easy by the presence of WMU's College of Engineering and Applied Sciences within the park.

More than 800 private-sector employees and more than 400 WMU faculty and staff work each day in Phase I of the BTR Park. Nearly 200 WMU students have enjoyed internships with firms in the park.

The BTR Park was developed as a partnership between the city of Kalamazoo and WMU. The Colony Farm Orchard property is located within the boundaries of Oshtemo Township and will be developed as a partnership between that government entity and the University.

For more information about the BTR Park, contact WMU's Bob Miller, associate vice president for community outreach. For information about the design development process and community input opportunities, contact FTC&H's Jennifer Waugh at (616) 745-9414.

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