KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Exciting new developments are on the way as Western Michigan University continues to be responsive to student and campus community needs. Crews are forging ahead with plans for a new parking structure, pedestrian pathways and more green space to enjoy.
The University employed Fishbeck, a local design firm, to helm the project. It is part of the larger Hilltop Village development, which involves a re-imagining of the southern portion of main campus. It includes Arcadia Flats student housing, which opened in 2021, and the new Student Center and Dining Facility expected to open in late summer 2023.
"Our goal with all of this new development is to change the face of the University and add modern square footage but also add green space," says David Dakin, director of planning, space management and capital projects.
The new, five-story parking structure will be adjacent to Arcadia Flats in the space formerly occupied by the Burnhams residence hall. Built with sustainability in mind, it is intended to be Parksmart certified and features four new electric vehicle charging stations, energy efficient lighting, bicycle parking and dedicated spaces for energy-efficient vehicles.
"We're really proud of our effort to pursue Parksmart certification and want to ensure that all of our development not only improves the aesthetics of campus but also includes state-of-the-art technology that really makes sustainability a top priority," Dakin says.
Construction is expected to begin in summer 2023 with plans to have the structure open by fall 2024, making more than 350 spaces available to student and employee permit holders as well as visitors. A future expansion would add another 200 spaces.
In addition to the structure, this latest development phase will include the creation of Loop Road, which will run parallel to Arcadia Loop Road, using a "complete streets" concept—creating a safe and convenient roadway that supports mobility for all users—as well as create a "Viewshed," expanding green space and creating new, accessible pathways between the Student Recreation Center and newly renovated Dunbar Hall. A pedestrian bridge will also be added to allow for safer crossing over traffic on the newly constructed road between Arcadia Flats and Moore Hall.
"Western is really striving to be a pedestrian campus, which has been a goal for decades," Dakin says. "This is another big step in that direction."
The addition of green space will also increase capacity for stormwater management, which helps keep potential stormwater pollution out of Arcadia Creek.
Construction will involve the removal of Hays Drive, Dormitory Road, Moore Drive and Shaw Lane. Information related to this phase of Hilltop Village development and related walking, parking and driving interruptions and detours due to construction will be available online.
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