WMU South Neighborhood work kicks off with April input sessions

Contact: Deanne Puca
Map showing Western Michigan University's neighborhoods.

WMU housing and dining map

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Work to redevelop part of the Western Michigan University campus into the new South Neighborhood will kick off next month with two days of input sessions designed to gather input regarding ideas for constructing a new student center and new student housing as well as developing a South Neighborhood master plan.

The input sessions are set for 4 to 6 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, April 12, in the Bernhard Center lobby. The sessions are the first steps in an initiative announced last fall to transform the area of campus adjacent to Stadium Drive into a new campus gateway that is more connected with the community and offers eye-catching appeal to prospective students and campus visitors.

"We're just getting started with planning for the student center," says Vice President for Student Affairs Diane Anderson. "We want to get students' best thoughts and ideas on what that facility will be like and how it can meet the needs of current and future students. As a matter of fact, we'd love to see students flood those two sessions and really become deeply involved."

Work currently planned for the South Neighborhood includes:

  • Development of a sub-campus master plan, to be completed in October.
  • Construction of a new student center to open in 2021.
  • Demolition this May of Elmwood Apartments.
  • Construction of new student housing in the Elmwood footprint, with groundbreaking set for spring 2019.

David Dakin, WMU director of planning, space management and capital projects, says that in addition to campus planning staff, the input sessions will be attended by a team from Cannon Design and Stantec, which are consulting firms hired to help develop the new center and housing. The firm Perkins & Will will be present to solicit input on the sub-campus master plan.

Construction on the student center as well as the new student housing is slated to begin in 2019. Future plans for the South Neighborhood include other mixed-use facilities besides student housing.

Dakin says websites for the various projects are under development and will include online feedback mechanisms for the campus community.

Download a map of the WMU campus showing the neighborhood configuration

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

Related story

Next WMU development focus is the main campus South Neighborhood | Nov. 30, 2017