In the 1990's Michigan Governor John Engler championed downsizing the state-operated psychiatric facilities. The Kalamazoo Regional Psychiatric Hospital, which first opened in 1859 as the Michigan Asylum for the Insane, was one of the facilities slated for reduction or consolidation.
WMU was given the opportunity to acquire the divested property. It was transferred to the University in October 1998, and in 2001 was renamed the Oakland Drive Campus. The downsized KRPH continues to operate on a portion of the property.
Dr. Elson S. Floyd became Western's sixth President on August 1, 1998. He soon authorized developing a new Campus Master Plan. The process was administered by Mr. Robert Beam, Vice President for Business and Finance, Ms. Evie Asken, Director of Campus Planning, and the Campus Planning Council of the Faculty Senate (renamed Campus Planning and Finance Council, Fall 2000). The Campus Master Plan was accepted by the WMU Board of Trustees in December, 2000. It includes ten Fundamental Concepts that guide all University physical planning.
President Floyd continued President Haenicke's pursuit of a "research oriented, student centered" university. In 2000 the Carnegie Foundation classified Western Michigan University as "Doctoral/Research University - Extensive". Contributing to the University's growth as a research institution were state-authorized building projects for the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences and the College of Health and Human Services. These two projects were the start of a significant departure from the campus planning of the previous fifty years: developing multiple, separate campuses, each with its own academic core.
The project for the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences (CEAS) upgraded its academic and research spaces to modern technology-intensive standards. It also created a climate for cooperative research and development activities with industry. After an intense period where development proposals were received from the cities of Battle Creek and Kalamazoo, Dr. Floyd announced that a new campus would be built on the University's Lee Baker Farm property on the west side of Kalamazoo, three miles from WMU's Main Campus.
The new Parkview Campus would be home to the new CEAS building and a new facility for the Paper Science and Technology program. The new campus would also house a University-administered Business, Technology and Research (BTR) Park. The first tenant moved into the BTR Park in 2001 and the Paper Coating Pilot Plant was dedicated October 11, 2002. The College of Engineering building was open for classes Fall Semester 2003 and was dedicated September 12, 2003.
Another major capital project, a new building for the College of Health and Human Services (CHHS) was located on the Oakland Drive Campus near the existing WMU Unified Clinics, Center for Disability Services, and the MSU Kalamazoo Center for Medical Studies on Oakland Drive. The location complemented the College's mission to provide accessible health care education and services to WMU students and to the Southwest Michigan community. The project also contributed to the state's "Health Care Corridor" in Central and Southwest Michigan, a growth-engine for economic development, educational opportunities, community-based health care systems and University-industry partnerships. A groundbreaking ceremony was held April 8, 2003. Construction was completed in 2005.
The CEAS and the CHHS building projects required the University to look at the connections, both physical and administrative, between the multiple campus locations. The success of the projects depended on the planning and cooperation of many different departments of the University: Student Services, Dining Services, Physical Plant's Maintenance, Landscaping and Custodial Services, and Information Technology. Outside entities contributed as well: the city of Kalamazoo, Metro Transit, the Parkview neighborhood associations, and others.