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June 24 , 2005
CONTACT: Pamela Young


EMU continues extensive campus upgrades, renovations

YPSILANTI - A sure sign of summer in Michigan is the proliferation of orange construction cones that line the roads, bridges and freeways being repaired throughout the state.

Although the distinct cones are usually absent at Eastern Michigan University, EMU’s physical plant is also taking advantage of the summer break to continue numerous short-and long-term campus upgrades and renovations.

“We’ve been very busy correcting maintenance issues and taking advantage to upgrading campus facilities at the same time where it is more efficient and cost effective,” said Larry Ward, director of facilities maintenance. “There are numerous projects in the works.”

Funding for the projects comes from three sources: general fee dollars, department-funded project funds and auxiliary maintenance reserves, said Ward.

“Although all of these are individual projects and no one project exceeds the $1 million criteria that would require a use and finance statement, EMU is committing more than $7 million to these individual campus upgrades,” he said. 

“Management of the facilities portfolio carries with it the stewardship responsibility to preserve the assets, improve them and maintain them in a condition that will allow the University to effectively carry out its mission.  To achieve this, the University has developed a strategic plan for the preservation of campus buildings, “ said Anthony Catner, associate vice president for business and finance-facilities. “Where capital improvements are required, EMU utilizes the State of Michigan capital renewal program to determine if a project moves forward based on evaluating capital priorities in light of current programming efforts, anticipated programming changes, academic initiatives and the current capital base.”

Current projects on campus include:

Americans with Disabilities Act  (ADA) Improvements: Power-assisted doors have been installed at Quirk Theatre and Ford Hall as well as a handicap-accessible ramp at Quirk. The bathrooms at Quirk also were widened to accommodate wheelchair accessibility. Sidewalk and step repairs are ongoing across campus.

Elevator Modernization: Work on elevators started in May and will continue through 2006. These include elevators in the Walton and Pittman residence halls, Snow Health Service, Mark-Jefferson and Pray-Harrold.

Heating, Cooling & Ventilation (HVAC) and Plumbing: These projects include upgrading plumbing and/or the HVAC systems for the Snow Health Center, Ford Hall, Pray-Harrold’s ICT room, DC One housing office, Hoyt, Hill and Pittman residence halls, and the Rackham and Strong buildings.

New boilers will be installed at the Cornell and Westview apartments. New heating and cooling controls have been installed on eight air-handling units at Pray-Harrold that serve the first and second floor rooms.

A main steam line from the south steam tunnel serving McKenny Union is scheduled for replacement.

The main chilled water line, serving the Brown-Munson apartment complex, is scheduled to be replaced in the next few weeks.

Safety Projects: Fire alarm systems have been or are being upgraded in Mark- Jefferson, Ford Hall, Warner, and Hoyt, Hill, Pittman and Wise residence halls. A new emergency generator is being installed for WEMU.

            Security cameras are being upgraded to a digital system with monitoring and a 30-day backup for Hill, Hoyt and Pittman.

            Infrastructure: The University has underground cables that carry electricity as part of the main electrical distribution system. As part of the infrastructure upgrade and repair, 35-year-old cable will be replaced from DC Two to the Towers (Hoyt, Hill and Pittman residence halls.)

            Tunnel repairs will include structural and steam line repairs.

            Portions of the heating plant’s roof will be replaced and exterior painting repairs are scheduled.

Data Communications: Boone Hall, Halle Library, McKenny Union and Pray-Harrold are now wireless. Mark-Jefferson will soon be wireless, according to Rocky Jenkins, director of network and system services. Mark-Jefferson also has a new data network, said Jenkins.

Hot spots – which allow for wireless computers within a given space – are now available on the upper and lower levels of the Eateries; DC One’s main dining room and the Wise dining room; the central commons area in Marshall; and the Sill Hall lobby.

Field Improvements: The physical plant is engineering and installing a new field with a proper crown and drainage system for the Scicluna soccer field. This will allow water to run-off, will help with upkeep and maintenance and help reduce injuries.

A new concession stand has been built at the softball complex.

Field Turf, a synthetic grass system that resembles real grass, will be installed at Rynearson Stadium by mid-July. It will replace the older Astro Turf. The new turf will provide a more resilient playing surface and offer safer overall playing conditions. Many universities and schools have changed to a Field Turf system.

 Classroom Building Upgrades: In addition to wireless networking now available in various buildings, there are a number of completed or ongoing projects for the classroom buildings. These include masonry and exterior repairs at Sill, Ford and Briggs; new windows and blinds for Ford Hall; new laboratory stools for Mark-Jefferson and Strong; and carpet for portions of Alexander, the College of Business (Owen) and Pease Auditorium.

Strong Hall improvements include new bathroom and laboratory fixtures.

Electrical repairs and window caulking and reglazing will be done during the summer.

Sill Hall and portions of Pierce Hall are scheduled to be reroofed.

A laboratory at Mark-Jefferson is being refurbished into an organisimal lab, which will include growth chambers. The Rackham building will be upgraded with new hallway tile.

New audio-visual technology will be installed in selected classrooms in Mark-Jefferson, Owen, Pray-Harrold, Quirk, Roosevelt, Sill, Strong, Warner, Ford, Alexander and Halle by the end of fall 2005.

The Alexander band and practice rooms have been painted. Another project that will start soon includes upgrading the lighting systems in Alexander for both energy savings and to improve the classroom environment.

“The physical plant staff has really worked hard to improve communications with building administrators and department heads in order to meet their needs, “ said Ward. “We’re meeting with them on a regular basis and conducting building audits. It’s exciting to see how much is being done on campus.”

Eastern Michigan University is a public, comprehensive university that offers programs in the arts, sciences and professions. EMU prepares students with the intellectual skills and practical experiences to succeed in their careers and lives, and to be better citizens.


Eastern Michigan University is a public, comprehensive university that offers programs in the arts, sciences and professions. EMU prepares students with the intellectual skills and practical experiences to succeed in their career and lives, and to be better citizens.

Editor's Note: Looking for an expert source for a story? Check out EMU's Eastern Experts online at www.emich.edu/univcomm/easternexperts.

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