Wednesday, March 13, 2013

ZLCC Rises, East Campus Will Fall

The good news is that the new Zhang Legacy Collections Center (ZLCC), future home of the WMU Archives and Regional History Collections, is progressing. The Archives plans to move into the ZLCC in late 2013. [1] . Here's a picture taken in early March 2013, compliments of my mom.

The new building is being erected with the goal of becoming LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified. [2] WMU currently has seven buildings that are LEED certified and hopes to increase that number to thirteen by early 2014. [2] These LEED-certified new and renovated structures go beyond simple energy efficiency, though that is certainly part of the reason for going green (the renovated chemistry building uses forty percent less energy than a traditional one). [2] Green maintenance practices, like a storm water retention system, green cleaning methods and even utilizing beet juice (an anti-coagulant) to reduce snow buildup on roads and sidewalks are a part of the bigger picture. [2]

The bad news is that the fate of East Campus has drastically altered since the middle of 2012. Gone are the plans for a boutique hotel, conference center and condos with an underground parking structure. The main stumbling block was the elimination of state tax credits, without which the cost of the project was prohibitive. [1] The current plan features a renovation of the central part of East Hall for alumni functions at a cost of $15 million. [1] Everything else? Well, due to the lack of funding, the remaining three buildings and the two wings of East Hall, though structurally sound, are slated for demolition. This could happen as soon as the Archives vacates the premises later this year. [1] This probably seems hasty to those who wish for an eleventh hour save, but WMU wants to eliminate the costs of security, utilities and maintenance on buildings it no longer has hopes of saving. [1] In addition, developing the new alumni center will be easier in the absence of several abandoned buildings. The University does plan to salvage important architectural elements from the buildings prior to their destruction. [1] Green space and parking for the alumni center are expected to fill the void of the existing structures. [1]

1. Cheryl Roland, “WMU’s East Hall to be renovated for use as alumni center,” WMU News, 10 Dec 2012.

2. Yvonne Zipp, “Western Michigan University celebrates LEED certification of 6 buildings,”, 21 Feb 2013.

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