By Alex Maggos and Jack Mennicke
Students at Western Michigan University’s main campus are trying to be patient after three years of construction heads into a fourth year for two major capital projects that interrupt the flow of pedestrian traffic, campus eateries, classrooms and meeting spaces.
The new $99 million student center, which resides in the south side of campus within the new Hilltop Village, will have 162,000 square feet that includes eight micro-restaurants, an art gallery showcasing students’ work, a dozen meeting rooms, a Starbucks and an on-campus bar.
The student center is anticipated to be completed by January 2023 and a $40 million renovation of Dunbar Hall should be completed by January 2024. Both projects started in 2019.
This week, the Dunbar renovation work included installing the steel frame for the structure for a new top-floor dance studio. Also, framing for a new addition on the south side of the building is set to begin. Dunbar Hall, which was built in 1971, is approximately 78,000 square feet and will move up to 89,000 with the renovation.
The current student center, Bernhard Center, is used for a variety of different things but since WMU officials were anticipating the opening of the new student center, many offices, shops and eateries in the current center are shut down or temporarily moved. Students of WMU use the Bernhard Center for studying, eating and as a place for meeting but since they were planning on moving, they don’t have access to certain offices and restaurants that once resided in the lower level of the “Bronco Mall” in the Bernhard Center.
To see updates of the student center construction, go to the WMU construction webcam: https://www.fm.wmich.edu/ap/webcam/south/. To see webcam updates of the Dunbar Hall renovation: https://www.fm.wmich.edu/ap/webcam/dunbar/.