Cost: 8.6 Million (entire Towers Complex)
University officials began discussing plans for a high-rise residence hall complex in the mid-1960s in response to rapid growth in the campus population. Central had 17 residence halls in 1967 designed to house 5,500 students. With over 6,000 planning to live on campus in the immediate future, a new housing alternative became a priority. Original plans called for the complex to be built on the northwest corner of campus, on the site of present-day Northwest Apartments. However, the ground at that location was determined to be too unstable for such massive structures. Since shoring up the ground was prohibitively expensive, planners looked to the south end of campus as an alternative construction site.
Officials approved the plans for the new complex in 1967. Designed by architect Roger Allen of Grand Rapids, the $8.6 million project began in October 1967. The building plans called for two 8-story towers and two 9-story towers connected to and served by a central food commons. The construction contract was awarded to the Christman Company of Lansing and the Great Lakes Hotel and Supply Company of Detroit was responsible for construction of the food service facilities. Troutman Hall, one of the 8-story towers, opened in the fall of 1969 as a women's residence hall with a capacity of 336. In 1972, the hall became co-ed, which it remains to this day. Troutman, along with the other three buildings, was dedicated on June 12, 1971.
The hall was named for the head of the Manual Training Department from 1913 to 1933. Oliver Troutman was born on August 19, 1880, in New York. He graduated from Yindhurst Academy in Seneca Falls and worked for General Electric for four years. He received his Bachelor of Arts from Cornell, where he taught for several years before coming to Central Michigan. While at Central, Troutman added a wide variety of courses to the manual training curriculum, most notably in metalworking. He and his wife had no children, but served as foster parents to four nephews. He died on March 30, 1933 in Seneca Falls after a short illness.