WMU News

HHS building tops requests for new capital outlay from state

October 30, 1998

DETROIT -- Western Michigan University has placed the $45 million consolidation of its College of Health and Human Services in new and renovated facilities at the top of a list of requests for new capital outlay funds from the state for 1999-2000.

A total of $40 million is being sought for a new building to be located on the Kalamazoo Psychiatric Hospital property along Oakland Drive that was recently transferred to WMU from the state. An additional $5 million is being requested to renovate the building that houses the School of Nursing, which already is located on the property.

The new and renovated facilities would bring the college's seven major academic units together from 13 separate locations around the campus. The property on Oakland Drive is known as WMU's new South Campus.

"The health sciences are a major area of growth and emphasis for the University," President Elson S. Floyd said Oct. 28 in announcing the request. "The consolidation is very appropriate because of the property's historic use and its easy access for what is emerging as a major health corridor for our community and the region."

The Board of Trustees approved the capital outlay request at its Oct. 30 meeting in Detroit. The request includes seven priorities with a total of 10 projects. The first priority, a $50 million request for a new building for the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences, already has been approved by the state.

Also part of that request is one for $3 million to renovate Welborn Hall to consolidate several student services offices. Welborn, which houses part of the Department of Paper and Printing Science and Engineering, would be vacated with the construction of a building to house papermaking and coating equipment being donated to the University.

Ranked with the new health and human services building as a top priority is a request for $18 million to renovate Sangren Hall, home of the WMU College of Education. The 35-year-old building, at nearly 200,000 square feet, is structurally sound and, with improvements, would remain one of the University's major classroom buildings.

The remaining five priorities, in rank order, and their estimated costs are:

Renovation of Kohrman Hall for use by the Department of Art; programs in interior, textile and industrial design; and the Department of Computer Science, $32 million. Bringing these programs together would afford the art department's 700 undergraduate and graduate students more opportunities to share creative experiences, official said.

The renovation of East Hall and other East Campus buildings, $60 million. This project would restore the East Campus buildings of West Hall and North Hall as well as the University's first building, East Hall, for non-academic purposes. The East Campus was designated as a historic site by the U.S. Department of the Interior in 1990.

A new building for the Department of Chemistry, $20 million. This project would replace McCracken Hall, which would be razed to make room for a 73,000-square-foot chemistry building. A 1996 audit of the building found renovation would not be cost effective for any purpose.

Deferred maintenance, $31 million. Deferred maintenance is an increasing problem at the University, officials said. Projects would include window replacements and improvements to heating, ventilation and air conditioning equipment; electrical equipment; elevators; roofs; seating and lighting; and telecommunications.

Infrastructure improvements on WMU's new South Campus, $30 million. This project would enable the University to conduct a physical investigation of the South Campus. This will help planners identify uses for existing buildings and possible uses of future buildings.

Media contact: Mike Matthews, 616 387-8400, michael.matthews@wmich.edu

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