KALAMAZOO, MI — The Western Michigan University trustees approved a $70 million bond Thursday to fund the completion of the new student center.
The Board of Trustees voted Thursday, Nov. 5, to authorize a general revenue bond not to exceed $70 million to finish the in-progress student center and dining facility construction project. WMU broke ground on the new student center in September 2019.
The university completed the first round of financing for the new building in 2019, and intended to finance the closing round in 2020-21, the university said in a news release.
The bond provides the funding to pay for site completion, construction, furnishing and equipping the facilities. Bond proceeds will also pay for the design and construction of a new road on the south side of the student center.
The center will be a three-story, 162,450-square-foot building featuring nine shops and restaurants, space for student organizations, gathering space as well as lounges and four hammock areas.
A first phase of the new student center is projected to open in fall 2021. During phase two of the project, set for completion in fall 2022, a third-floor dining center with seven “micro-restaurants” will be added to the facility.
The university also recently built new student housing on campus. Arcadia Flats is a six-story, 197-unit residential facility, which is scheduled to open this year.
The university believes the new student housing and student center are important parts of their efforts to turn around declines in enrollment and attract new students to Kalamazoo.
Also at Thursday’s meeting, the board voted to end the university’s relationship with Cooley Law School. The two institutions agreed to a formal association, with co-branding, in 2013 while maintaining financial and academic autonomy, the university said in a press release.
The separation of the two institutions, under the terms of the agreement, is a three-year process.
“It was the hope of both institutions that the affiliation would improve the quality of the educational experience for students at both institutions and would serve to enhance the reputation and standing of both institutions in the academic community,” reads the termination proposal considered by the board Thursday. “Several years after implementation those hopes have not been realized.”
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