Campus Planning

Update 2008: Master Plan Workshops

October 23-24

Update 2008

Topics of Discussion:
Student-Oriented Issues; Campus Housing

bullet Are there plans for a new Student Center? 
bullet How do you help students on other campuses keep a connection with the main campus?

The Bernhard Center has undergone many changes since it was built in 1957.  While the core of activities in the building is geared toward meeting students' needs, it does not adequately serve all the needs of today's students.  Many of WMU's peer institutions have built or renovated student centers in the past decade.  For several years WMU has been conducting planning studies on the pros and cons of building a new student center or renovating the Bernhard Center.  A minor remodeling project in the Bernhard Center will take place next year, when the former Henry Hall dining room is converted to offices and meeting space for registered student organizations.

There is strong support in the student body for a new and/or improved student union.  A significant driver in the planning discussions is the need for study lounges, lockers, and "between class" space for commuting students and students who have to juggle time and classes between the West Campus, the Parkview and Oakland Drive Campuses, and the College of Aviation in Battle Creek.

bullet The parking lots on the west side of campus rarely have many cars in them.  Are there other plans for this space?
Parking needs fluctuate depending on time of year, but in general there is less demand for parking on the West Campus because so many students park mainly on the Oakland Drive or Parkview Campuses.  The university is looking at some of the perimeter parking areas as locations for new campus housing, a means of achieving distributed housing locations as recommended by the Fundamental Concepts.

bullet What has prompted all the new plans for campus housing?  Are there plans for housing on the Oakland Drive Campus?
bullet Are there alternative housing ideas?
bullet How do you entice students to live on campus?
All of the current campus housing stock dates from the 1950’s and 60’s.  Aside from standard maintenance there have been few changes; the housing stock is dated and not attractive to today’s students.  In addition, President Dunn has set the direction to plan for providing on-campus housing for up to 10,000 students, a reasonable number for an institution the size of WMU. 

A Campus Housing Master Plan has been in development which includes strategies for increasing the housing stock from the current 5,000+ beds to 10,000 beds by replacing or upgrading current housing stock plus adding new units.  It also addresses the changes necessary to attract freshmen and transfer students to campus as well as enticing upperclass and graduate students to remain in or come back to campus housing; the latter have significantly different housing preferences than the former.  Housing options that have proved successful on other campuses are apartment-style units for upperclassmen, housing groups with special services such as computer labs, and so-called 'academic residences' that cater to an academic group.

In the past some of the housing options being discussed included partnerships with off-campus developers/landlords or university-owned off-campus units.  However, the Campus Housing Master Plan deals with on-campus housing.

The 2000 Master Plan calls for campus housing on the Oakland Drive Campus.  This continues to be part of the long-term planning.


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


Shipping Address:
Planning Division; Facilities Management
Campus Services Building

1201 Oliver Street

Kalamazoo, MI  49008