KALAMAZOO, Mich. — Western Michigan University is planning to replace 12 residence halls on campus.

University officials sought input from students and faculty Thursday on what to include in the new residence halls, The Kalamazoo Gazette reported . The forum was the first of three meetings the project’s design and planning team will hold.

Students asked for amenities such as recreational rooms, computer labs, snack bars and outdoor game areas. They emphasized the importance of air conditioning and larger rooms, and expressed concerns about affordability and environmental impact.

Biology major Abbie Bristol, a junior, said one of her favorite aspects of campus is the natural beauty of the outdoor spaces. The environmental studies and sustainability minor said she’s concerned that construction will impact animal and plant life on campus.

“There’s a lot of cool stuff you guys are talking about with the halls themselves. … but to see (the old structures) come down and see a new structure come up that impedes on the ecosystem would be a shame and I think definitely a problem,” Bristol said.

University officials plan to be more environmentally aware with the project than construction that happened decades ago, said David Dakin, the university’s director of planning, space management and capital projects.

The overall cost of the project hasn’t yet been determined. The average cost of constructing college residence halls is between $55,000 and $75,000 per bed, Dakin said. The university’s project likely won’t fall on the higher end of the range, he said.

University officials hope to replace all the halls in the next decade.

One of the projects will demolish the Harrison/Stinson halls and Eldridge/Fox halls, which were built in the 1960s. Construction on the replacement buildings will start spring 2018 and is expected to be completed by the 2020-21 academic year, officials said.


Information from: Kalamazoo Gazette, http://www.mlive.com/kalamazoo

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