Cost: $50 Million
The design phase for the Education and Human Services Building began in 2006. It was designed by SHW Group LLC, a Michigan-based architectural and engineering firm, and built by Walsh Construction of Grand Rapids. The four-story, 137,000 square foot building cost $50 million and was named the top project by the Construction Association of Michigan in 2010, beating out competing structures like the Greektown Casino in Detroit and the Gerald R. Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids.
The Education and Human Services Building was designed to be as environmentally-friendly as possible, and it received a Gold Certification from Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). The roof of the building featured 26,500 square feet of sedum, a ground-covering vegetation that helps drain water and maintain heating and cooling levels within the building. Floor-to-ceiling windows allowed the use of natural light and reduced electricity consumption, and restrooms featured reduced water usage and alternatives to paper towels. Finally, bamboo was used extensively throughout the building to reduce the use of wood materials and all of the furnishings and paint are recyclable.
In addition to environmental concerns, the Education and Human Services Building featured advanced teaching technology. Every room contained a copy cam, or a camera that takes a snapshot of the classroom whiteboard and copies it to a URL so that it can be accessed online by students. Rooms were also equipped with video cameras to facilitate recording lectures and presentations. Individual classes incorporated technology even more heavily. Some classes held in the Education and Human Services Building began with an iPod initiative, requiring all students to bring an iPod to class, where they would be used to take attendance, complete assignments, and communicate with other students and with the instructor.
One prominent feature of the Education and Human Services Building is the Child Development and Learning Lab. The lab had been located in Wightman Hall for over forty years but was relocated to EHS upon the building's opening in 2009. The Child Development and Learning Lab contains space for 72 preschool-aged children and many Central Michigan University students eager to work with them.