In 1979 both the nation and Michigan were recovering from economic recession and an energy crisis. At WMU planning was once again underway to provide facilities for the University's increasingly professional and diversified programs.
In 1972 the Departments of Art, Music, and Dance were combined to form the state's first College of Fine Arts. Theatre was added to the College in 1976, but the programs continued in their existing locations with no organizational cohesion, and with facilities that were ill-suited to support program growth. In fact, many studios and offices were housed in leased facilities - former neighborhood homes on the near west side of campus (between Rood and Kohrman Halls and Howard St.). The Walwood Student Union was the principle facility for the Dance Department - the ballroom functioned as a dance studio and the lavatories served as changing rooms.
The 1979 Campus Map outlines the location of the proposed new Fine Arts Building. Construction of the Dorothy Upjohn Dalton Center would be completed in 1982. (Dorothy U. Dalton was a WMU Board Member from 1964 to 1972.)
The design of the Dalton Center reflects the impact energy reduction regulations had on the architecture of the late 70's and early 80's. It was acknowledged that the 70's energy crisis resulted in part because the United States had grown accustomed to unlimited and cheap energy. A variety of construction standards and practices were implemented with the intention of reducing energy consumption. These practices included lowering the wattage on lighting, making building envelopes "tighter", increasing the amount of insulation, and reducing the size and number of exterior windows. Since then, improvements in building materials and technology and new methods of construction do as much or more to reduce energy consumption than any of these measures.
Many city governments responded to the energy crisis with plans for improving urban transportation systems and reducing reliance on the automobile. The 'Directions to campus' portion of the pamphlet (on the left) shows the location of Kalamazoo's proposed "Intermodal Transportation Center".