Campus Planning

Update 2008: Master Plan Workshops

October 23-24

Update 2008

Topics of Discussion:
General Campus and Building Issues; East Campus; Parkview Campus

bullet Is there an accessibility forum/committee at WMU?  How are students and visitors included in the process?
Disabled Student Resources and Services and the Office of Institutional Equity are both open daily to receive questions and concerns about ADA compliance and disability and accessibility issues.  The university has standing committees that oversee long-term goals and efforts for ADA compliance.  Improvements to existing facilities are included in the scope of all major projects and, where possible, in smaller repairs and upgrades, both interior and exterior.

bullet More work is needed to create a campus that feels “connected”, that has unifying themes or qualities and not just a succession of isolated features.
bullet Campus edges and image:  Elmwood Apartments and parking lots on west side are not very attractive.
bullet Need more “sense of place” at campus entrances.
bullet The east side/east entrance to campus is not very welcoming.
Much work has been done, but there is still more to do!  The majority of concerns in 2000 focused on these same issues, and they will probably always be important to the campus community.  After all, first impressions and a strong, coherent image are the basis of pride of place and pride in your associations.

Campus renewal is an on-going pursuit, hampered in part by budget problems of the past few years but also by time's passage, which sooner or later makes everything new look old.  It is typical for these projects to be done incrementally, planned to occur over many years as funds become available.

The need for harmony and connectedness in and between the campuses is very specifically identified in the Master Plan.  The Fundamental Concepts call for visual and physical continuity, coherent and functional districts, and overall accessibility.

bullet What about saving the buildings on East Campus?
bullet What is the East Campus Task Force?
bullet East Campus renewal is critical to Vine Neighborhood.
The university is committed to preserving its heritage and finding a functional, productive use for the East Campus buildings, many of which have fallen into severe disrepair.  Toward that end the East Campus Task Force is involved in seeking private development proposals for uses that complement the university’s mission.  The East Campus Task Force is a diverse group of university and community representatives appointed by President Dunn.

bullet What are the plans for open space / green space on campus?
The Fundamental Concepts of the Master Plan call for protecting and enhancing the Goldsworth and Arcadia Valleys, and for using open space on campus to promote a sense of community.  Toward these ends, the valleys continue to be maintained and developed for recreation and sports activities.  The open spaces (or courtyards, or quadrangles) between buildings are valuable places for gathering, for contemplation, or for recreation.  Every building project includes plans to enhance or create adjacent open space, essentially creating outdoor living rooms for the campus community.

bullet What is the Northwest Unit and why is it such a wreck?
The Northwest Unit, located on the north side of the city of Kalamazoo, is a long-vacated former state tuberculosis sanitarium that was “gifted” to WMU at the time of the property transfer of the Kalamazoo Regional Psychiatric Hospital from the state of Michigan.  Efforts to rehabilitate the property have so far been fruitless, largely due to the prohibitive cost of remediating the widespread asbestos and lead paint contamination.  An alternative under consideration is to demolish the building so that the property may be redeveloped.

bullet What are plans for growth at the BTR Park? Parkview Campus? Asylum Lake? Colony Farm/Orchard?
There are only a few lots still available for development at the BTR Park, but there are other avenues for growth that existing tenants can pursue, such as the current expansion of the Innovation Center.  The Colony Farm property on the northwest corner of Drake Road and Parkview Avenue already contains the Consumers Energy substation and is a possible development location, although any change-of-use requires state approval.  Local governments have given strong support to continued economic development in this and nearby locations.

The original master plan for the Parkview Campus identified buildable areas on the site for expansion of the academic facilities or for support services.  The plan identifies a buffer zone on the east and south edges of the campus, which will remain undeveloped.
See Parkview Campus Master Plan.

The Asylum Lake Preserve is to be permanently maintained as green space and wildlife habitat, and will continue to be available for approved WMU research projects and for passive recreation.  The Asylum Lake Policy and Management Council oversees all activities on the property.

bullet What are plans for the soccer fields at the Parkview Campus?
There are long-term plans to return the varsity soccer fields to the main campus.  In addition to the benefits to the student athletes of having better and more convenient facilities, sports activities are highly visible and exciting, and are excellent for building campus community and promoting student involvement. 

In the short term, plans for the soccer fields depend on whether, and when, the site on the Parkview Campus is leased to a developer.  There are only a few lots left at the BTR Park, and the goal is to see 100% development of all the parcels.


Planning Division of Facilities Management; Mail #5313
Western Michigan University
1903 W. Michigan Ave.
Kalamazoo MI 49008 USA
(269) 387-8543 or 387-8544 | (269) 387-8818 Fax


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