Renovation Cost: $360,000
West Hall, home of CMU's University Communications, is all that remains of a larger complex that once housed the campus heating plant. The heating plant was built between the summer of 1941 and the fall of 1942 to replace the original heating plant located in the center of campus. It was designed by Roger Allen of Grand Rapids and built by the Miller-Davis Company of Kalamazoo on the site of the girls' athletic fields on the west side of campus near the railroad tracks. The heating plant was designed with limited office space, and Facilities Management occupied part of the building since the 1940s. When the new Central Energy Facility was constructed in the early 1960s, the boilers were removed from the old heating plant, and the building was remodeled into more office space, maintenance garages, and storage for Facilities Management. The complex, which consisted of the large building that had been the physical plant as well as a collection of smaller garages and sheds (the "sheepsheds" left over from a postwar housing community on the site), remained the home of Facilities Management and the Motor Pool until the 1980s.
With the completion of a new Combined Services Building in 1990, Facilities Management was relocated to the east side of campus and the old power house building was left vacant. The University demolished most of the building at a cost of $340,000, leaving only the northern end of the structure standing. This building, which became known as West Hall, became the new home of CMU Media Relations. Media Relations, now University Communications, had been housed in 114 Rowe Hall, but that office complex had become too cramped for the department's purposes. Although University officials discussed moving University Communications into the space formerly occupied by the bowling alley in the University Center, it was ultimately decided to utilize the newly vacated space in West Hall. Renovation of the office complex cost $20,000 and was complete by December 1990. The new office space provided more room for University Communications.