Board of Trustees / Top Stories / University

Ten-year plan calls for CMU to spend $400 million on 18 projects — including new north campus undergraduate housing

The Board of Trustees was presented Wednesday with a draft of a capital plan that would, if approved, have the university spend $400 million over 10 years on 18 different projects.

The 10-year capital plan, part of the campus master plan, was presented at the Finance and Facilities Committee meeting ahead of Thursday’s Board of Trustees meeting at the Bovee University Center.

It calls for spending $64 million on new undergraduate housing to replace aging north campus residence halls and $70 million on a College of Business administrative building, among other projects.

The trustees did not vote on the plan, but Associate Vice President of Facilities Management Steve Lawrence said a final report will be presented to University President George Ross in August, and a final plan will be presented to the board in September.

Lawrence said the 18 projects were narrowed down from an initial plan of over 200 before being cut down to 43 projects that would cost a total of $700 million. The campus master plan steering team, comprised of a variety of campus figures in academics, student government, administration and elsewhere, prioritized 18 projects for the university to consider.

“We really tried hard to get as many people as possible and to give them as many ways to participate as possible,”  Lawrence said.

The most expensive of the 18 projects has already been approved: the $95.2-million Biosciences Building, which was approved by the Board of Trustees last April and is set for completion by fall 2017.

The proposed undergraduate housing project would replace the aging north quad residence halls, which were built in the 1950s.

Other major projects presented to the board include a $20-million expansion of the Health Professions Building, a $15-million renovation of Pearce Hall, $9-million renovations of Brooks Hall and the Robinson Residential Restaurant and construction of a $20-million “learning commons” at the Charles V. Park Library.

“This was a project that was strongly supported by the academic folks on the committee,” Lawrence said, referring to the library project.

Specifics on each of the individual projects were scarce.

However, a campus map Lawrence displayed to the trustees indicated where future projects might be located, including a $31-million expansion of the UC that was not listed in the steering committee’s plan but was included in the original list of 43 projects.

The map showed much of the construction taking place on north campus and south of Broomfield Road.

“We believe there will be more expansion (south of Broomfield) in the future,” Lawrence said.

Two projects will be up for a vote at Thursday’s board meeting. The trustees will vote on approving Phase I construction of the College of Medicine East Campus in Saginaw totaling $25.2-million and on a $5.4-million East Utility Loop.

The utility loop, if approved, would create new 16-inch steam lines and 8-inch condensate lines about 4-6 feet underground that would better meet capacity on the east side of campus.

Other projects on the initial list of 43 that were not included in the steering committee’s prioritized list include renovations of the Dow Science Complex, the Engineering and Technology Building, Foust Hall, Powers Hall and the Student Activity Center, among other buildings.

After Lawrence admitted there is no “signature project” in the capital plan that would add spaces for students to congregate, Trustee Robert Wardrop said he was concerned there was too little student involvement in drafting the plan.

“Apparently, (students) were not looked out for in this plan,” he said.

Ross said any plan “must align with academic prioritization.”

“It’s certainly not going to be easy,” he said.

Lawrence also presented a map of potential road projects to the board, including a utility road that would connect East Campus Drive with Mission Road that is designed to ease traffic congestion. The trustees will vote on that project tomorrow.

Check Thursday for news from the Board of Trustees meeting.


  1. Very apparent “(students) were not looked out for.”

    I’ve been a Central student for four+ years and I appreciate the direction the school is headed. I understand that the idea is to have CMU compete with the top tier Universities in the state. But doing so while disregarding current students is not how it should be gone about. The facts are facts, the tuition difference between a credit hour at Central and MSU is near or already less than $20. Yet the academic standards at CMU are no where near those at Michigan State or U of M. Those standards imply a quality of faculty as well and overall education.

    Raise the level of education first and justify the cost with that. Putting up new buildings and dumping money into the looks of CMU is covering up the real issues at the university. The ones that I’m sure the president and faculty are aware of. Embrace what we have at Central, a friendly, welcoming and inclusive culture. One free of the pervasive elitism of those larger universities. Beat them by being ourselves not by becoming them. Raise the bar for education after admittance into the university and prove that a degree at CMU is just as valuable as any other in the state. The only thing that that’s going to change going down this path is the look of Central. Invest in students not in structures. And yes there is a difference.

  2. If you have to build anything, build some rooms for group projects.

  3. PKT06Alumni10 says:

    There are two ways toward any situation. In order to have a medical school we need to build a hospital and have state of the art facilities. In a time where technology is changing faster that anyone can keep up, we need to be able to provide excellent facilities to help build and promote research. What do we need to do in order to do that? Money and Faculty. Faculty are drawn to places like Mt. Pleasant, but would like to have the same resources that they would have at a Michigan or Michigan State. We, the taxpayer/ alumni/ students need to realize that Money and facilities are a driving force in higher education. I’m proud to be a Chippewa and Proud of our University for enhancing it’s facilities. If you didn’t do that then my degree in the past means a little less.

  4. There are no bad troops…only bad generals. It’s leadership and that “vision” thing.

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