WMU News

Engineering building set for Sept. 12 dedication

Sept. 6, 2003

KALAMAZOO -- The new home of Western Michigan University's College of Engineering and Applied Sciences will formally open its doors in a ribbon-cutting ceremony set for 2:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 12.

The 343,000-square-foot facility, which is the heart of WMU's new Parkview Campus, was completed this summer after two years of construction. The $72.5 million high-tech academic building is the University's largest and serves as home to a college that has nine engineering departments and a total student enrollment of some 3,000. Classes began in the new building Aug. 28.

Participating in the Sept. 12 ceremony will be state legislators Alexander Lipsey and Jack Hoogendyk; Vernice D. Anthony of Detroit, who is vice chairperson of WMU's Board of Trustees; Kalamazoo Mayor Robert Jones; WMU President Judith I. Bailey; and Dr. Michael B. Atkins, dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences. The program also will include representatives of the engineering student body as well as spokespersons for the building's design architects, Rossetti Associates of Southfield, Mich.; the architect of record, HarleyEllis of Detroit; the general contractor, the Christman Co. of Lansing, Mich.; and landscape architects O'Boyle, Cowell, Blalock and Associates of Kalamazoo.

An open house will follow the formal ceremony. The public may stroll through the building between the hours of 3 and 6 p.m., and tours, led by engineering students and staff members, will be conducted. Parking for visitors is available in a surface lot east of the building and in two attached parking decks.

The new building features two, two-story brick wings--each more than 600 feet long--joined by a central glass hub. The entire engineering complex, which includes two attached parking ramps, a Paper Coating Pilot plant that was opened in 2002 and an energy resource center, is a major component to the University's Parkview Campus. The new 265-acre campus, which is three miles south of WMU's main Kalamazoo campus, also includes a Business Technology and Research Park. That park has been designated a Michigan SmartZone and is home to 10 companies in the life sciences, information technology and advanced engineering. The entire initiative was launched in 1999.

The total cost for the building project was more than $99 million, including site work, construction of the parking decks, telecommunications infrastructure, and professional and relocation fees. The project was financed through a blend of public and private funds, with the state of Michigan providing the initial $37.5 million. A number of Kalamazoo and regional organizations played significant roles in financing construction, with more than $20 million in private cash and in-kind gifts supporting the project. The remaining costs were financed through the issuance of bonds. The support of a number of organizations has been noted in named facilities located throughout the building.

The building's east wing is named for the Irving S. Gilmore Foundation of Kalamazoo.

The west wing is named for the Kalamazoo Foundation.

The upstairs lobby is named for National City Corp.-Southwest Michigan.

The downstairs lobby is named for Borgess Health Alliance.

Edwin and Mary Meader of Kalamazoo provided funds for the Center for Integrated Design.

Steelcase Corp. and Custer Office Environments, both of Grand Rapids, Mich., funded the dean's conference room.

Armstrong International Inc. of Three Rivers, Mich., provided funds for the dean's office complex.

In addition, a plaque in the main lobby of the building notes the support for the development of the entire Parkview Campus project and the money funneled into the effort by private investors through Southwest Michigan First. Taken together, the eight organizations named contributed more than $16 million toward completion of the project.

The new facility includes seven computer teaching labs, 75 research and teaching laboratories a number of flexible classroom and lecture spaces. Many features are aimed specifically at student study and research needs, including study lounges and breakout rooms where small groups can work together on engineering projects. The facility is a wireless computing environment, but it also includes extensive hard wiring for high-end computing needs and interactive instruction.

Media contact: Cheryl Roland, 269 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

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