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Preston Court Apartments

Prest court parking lot 2.jpg

Opened: 1954
Closed: 1995

The apartment buildings that once stood on the site of the present-day music building were the first permanent housing units specifically designed with married students in mind. Demand for married student housing had increased dramatically since the end of World War II, and the Preston Court Apartments were designed to replace the temporary housing in which married students had been living. The fireproof brick and slab buildings were designed by architect Roger Allen of Grand Rapids and built by the Miller-Davis Construction Company of Kalamazoo. Construction was underway by the fall of 1953 on a site south of Preston Road opposite of Alumni Field. Units A, B, and C of the housing complex opened in the spring of 1954. Each building contained 12 completely furnished apartments, as well as two laundry rooms for student use.

The second phase of construction began in December 1955. Three new buildings with 16 apartments each were added to the existing Preston Court area to meet the ever-increasing demand for new married student housing. All units had a kitchen, living room, and bath, and each building featured washers, dryers, and gas heating. Some units were ready for students by July 1956, with all of units D, E, F, and G were open by fall. That summer, a second addition was begun after College administrators approved $1,425,000 to add another 144 apartments to the Preston Court complex. This third phase opened in spring 1957.

Preston Court was organized in a similar fashion to other residence halls and apartment complexes on campus. Each court had a council consisting of at least one representative and the officers from each building. Councils were responsible for planning organized functions like parties and picnics. They also helped organize intramural activities that involved competition with other courts and residence halls and activities specifically designed for married students, such as mixed doubles bowling leagues.

PrestonCourtAerial.jpgPreston Court Apartments saw some improvements and changes over the next few decades. In 1967, the University approved a remodel of the apartments. Due to the lack of residence hall space on campus and the growing undergraduate population, the apartments were converted for use by single undergraduates. The move was designed to be temporary, because the new high-rise Towers dormitory complex was due to be completed within a few years and the construction of a new married housing complex northwest of campus was underway. In 1972, basketball courts were added to the area adjacent to the apartments. The apartments saw a combination of married and unmarried students over the course of the 1970s and 1980s.

In 1995, the University announced the construction of a new music building, which would be constructed on a large plot of land that included the Preston Court Apartments. Students were forced out and the apartments were razed to make way for the new project.