Western Michigan University to renovate East Hall, other east campus buildings will be demolished

Dec 13, 2012

Western Michigan University officials say they plan to focus their preservation efforts on East Campus on renovating East Hall. 

A news release from the university says the hall will become an alumni center. Three other buildings on the original section of the campus will be demolished according to Western officials. That will make way for green space and parking for the new alumni center. Western's Associate Vice President for Community Research Bob Miller spoke with WMUK's Gordon Evans about the decision to preserve East Hall. 

Miller says East Hall was the first building on Western's campus, and preserving it is vital. But he says the resources are not there to preserve the other buildings. 

 Miller says it's not known yet if all of East Hall will be renovated. He says that will depend on how much money can be raised from private sources. 

East Hall
 Tom Coyne, a Western Michigan University graduate, retired Western employee and former board member of the Friends of East Campus calls the announcement a disappointment. He says the only good news is the plans for an alumni center. Coyne, whose career included stints as director of Alumni Relations and Vice President for Student Services, says Friends of East Campus had hoped that East Hall would be the university’s central administration building again. Coyne says he hopes the money can be found to renovate all of East Hall, but he acknowledges money is tight right now. Coyne says the university’s economic concerns are real, and he says President Dunn inherited a very difficult problem.  

Last year Western announced plans for a renovation of East Campus that includes a boutique hotel, conference center and health club. But those plans were stalled when the state’s tax credits for brownfield redevelopment and historic preservation were eliminated.

Western President John Dunn is quoted in the university’s news release saying

“We’ve decided we can wait no longer, and it is of paramount importance to our campus and community to save the core of East Hall.”