by Geoff Larcom, Published October 30, 2012
Eastern Michigan University is investing in the city of Detroit, increasing the University's presence there by opening a new off-campus center on the city's northwest side.
The new facility is located at 7800 W. Outer Drive, in a third-floor suite of rooms. The new site, which is highly convenient for students and faculty and has adequate parking facilities, is located across the street from Wayne County Community College's northwest campus.
The EMU Board of Regents approved a five-year and three-month lease agreement with College Park RCO, LLC, the landlord for the facility, at the board's regular meeting Tuesday.
The new site is 10,983 square feet, and includes staff and faculty offices, classrooms, a computer lab and a student lounge area. Under the agreement, the landlord will provide and pay for approximately $118,000 in improvements for the facility before Eastern's move-in date of Feb. 1, 2013.
Eastern Michigan University offers a wide range of courses and degrees in convenient, flexible and innovative formats, both online and at locations throughout Michigan, including Detroit. Since 2000, the University has leased 6,251 square feet of space in Detroit at 18100 Myers, in a facility known as the Northwest Activities Center, as the site for its Detroit campus. Student credit hours have fallen at the facility from a peak of 2,035 in fiscal year 2001 to 870 last year.
"We are delighted to be expanding our academic offerings in Detroit at this exceptional new facility," said Eastern Michigan President Susan Martin. "Eastern Michigan is a school of opportunity, and it is very important to maintain a first-class facility for Detroit area students. Such efforts are central to our mission of being accessible and affordable, with academic programs that help secure students' futures."
EMU provost Kim Schatzel said, "The location of the new Detroit campus, across from the WCCC facility and within a reasonable commute from other community colleges, creates numerous opportunities for a group of students whom we very much want to serve. We are committed to growing enrollment in Detroit, and the new site and course offerings will be instrumental in that effort."
Courses at the Detroit site have included classes in nursing, social work and education. Other offices in the new facility include doctors and staff from the northwest Detroit branch of the Henry Ford Medical System.
The lease will commence Feb. 1, 2013, and end April 30, 2018. In the interim, Eastern's classrooms will be located in a different space at the new site under a month-to-month rental arrangement with the landlord.
The lease rate at the new facility is $15.36 per square foot, compared to the $16.60 square foot Eastern is currently paying at the Northwest Activities Center. Although the rate per square foot is lower, the $168,652 average annual lease cost at the new Outer Drive site represents a $65,000 annual increase in Eastern's costs that reflects the increased square footage at the new site.
The $65,000 increase in the annual lease cost of the new Detroit campus site is more than offset by the annual savings realized in the five-year extension of the lease at EMU's Livonia campus.