WMU Plans To Renovate, Raze Historic Buildings Bittersweet To East Campus Supporters

Ann McClure's picture

News of Western Michigan University’s plans to demolish West and North halls, the Speech and Hearing Center and possibly wings of East Hall was disappointing for Thomas Coyne, a former alumni relations director at WMU and member of the Friends of Historic East Campus group.

Coyne, who attended classes in all of the halls on East Campus while he was a student in the 1950s, said plans to knock down the three buildings and wings of the university’s birthplace building was what prompted formation of the group created to save “Old East” campus more than a decade ago.

“That was the reason the group was formed in the first place,” Coyne said. "It’s a shame we have forgotten. People are used to looking up that hill and seeing that big building. It’s going to take a while to adjust to that.”

The university announced Monday that it will demolish three historic buildings and borrow $15 million to renovate the 34,000-square-foot core of East Hall into an alumni center at the top of Prospect Hill, where the very roots of the university sit.

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