CMU approaches finalized plan for Washington Commons

CMU students play basketball at the North campus retirement party on Saturday, April 23 in the North campus courtyard.

Central Michigan University had some updates to its landscape over the summer.

The new parking lot, Lot 75, located on the corner of West Campus Drive and West Broomfield Street, opened to the campus community on August 19.

With 1,060 parking spots, it is open primarily to first-year students with a Maroon Resident permit but anyone with a valid CMU parking permit can utilize the space.

It is one of several campus improvement projects taking place.

On Feb. 17, the CMU Board of Trustees voted to proceed with a construction plan for the Washington Commons residential complex. It is proposed to be built where Lot 22 - one the largest commuter lots on campus - currently sits.

Lot 75 was designed to replace and add to the approximately 900 parking spots in Lot 22.

The board also approved improvements to Lot 39 and Lot 43 and the demolition of Kewadin Village by this winter and Northwest Apartments by Fall 2024.

A final decision about the construction of the Washington Commons will be made at the next board meeting on Sept. 22.

Timeline of Washington Commons in Spring 2022

At the Feb. 17 board meeting, students and faculty voiced their concerns regarding the Washington Commons project.

At a Feb. 28 Student Government Association meeting, executive director of student affairs, Kathleen Gardner, gave a presentation on Washington Commons and said it will help CMU keep up with its competitor universities and appeal to a larger audience.

Two town hall meetings were hosted online and in-person in February and March in which students and faculty criticized and questioned the residence hall proposal.

In April 2021, the board passed a resolution recognizing the significant enrollment and fiscal challenges but continued with the proposed demolition and construction plans of the Washington Commons.

The board has yet to approve the actual construction of the residence halls, which will be revisited this September.

According to Gardner, Washington Commons will have 179 units available to upperclassmen only, and is projected to cost $135 million. If the plan is approved, construction is planned to start October 2022 and be completed by August 2024.