WMU Campus History

1970 Campus Development Plan Report

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Cover of 1970 Campus Development Plan report Cover of 1970 report

bullet Western Michigan University, like most academic institutions of the time, experienced extreme enrollment growth in the 1960's.  In 1957, the year WMU was officially designated a University, enrollment totalled 5500 students.  By 1973 enrollment had nearly quadrupled to 21,000 students.

bullet Despite extensive construction, the demand for space on campus was exceeding the supply.  In addition, predictions indicated that facility problems would be compounded over time by increases in the amount of space allocated per student.

bullet The 1970 Campus Development Plan addressed these growth issues.  The Plan also outlines the rational for closing off the portion of West Michigan Avenue that ran through campus, and illustrates the proposed extension of Howard Street for handling crosstown traffic.

bullet A 1998 report by WMU's Department of Campus Planning reviews the 1970 Plan and addresses its implementation.  It looks at which problems or conditions were solved or improved and which still remain, plus new issues that have developed. 

bullet The historic oil embargo of 1973 and the ensuing national economic recession greatly affected institutional planning and growth nationwide.  Michigan universities were no exception.  In 1971 five major building projects were completed at Western:  Rood, Friedman, Dunbar and Knauss Halls and the Everett Office Tower.  In contrast, it would be ten years before the next major academic building project - the Dorothy U. Dalton Center, completed in 1982.

Selected Planning Topics:


Related information can be found at:

University Magazine, Spring/Summer 1970

West Michigan Mall Sketch

1998 Campus Development Issues


Planning Division of Facilities Management; Mail #5313
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Western Michigan University
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