Construction resumes on CMU campus

Summer projects focus on safety, academic pursuits

| Author: ​Jeff Johnston

With Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's authorization of construction as an approved activity, Central Michigan University is proceeding with a modified 2019-2020 construction program.

Projects are primarily based upon funding authorized in December as part of the annual deferred maintenance program. The program consists mostly of infrastructure projects and some general improvements, in keeping with CMU's goals and priorities. The projects being conducted support both the safety of campus and academic pursuits. They include:

  • Improved exterior lighting for campus safety.
  • Repairs to the Central Energy Facility, Satellite Energy Facility and underground utility systems.
  • CMU's 911 Center Next Generation Technology upgrade, which is a state grant-supported project being conducted concurrently with Isabella County's 911 Center upgrade.
  • Upgrading facilities in Wightman Hall to create the Allen Foundation Culinary Nutrition Center
  • The South Campus Stormwater Mitigation Project, a Federal Emergency Management Agency grant-supported project to improve stormwater controls south of Broomfield Road.
  • Masonry repairs to Warriner Hall, Wightman Hall and Rose Center to repair and protect the structural integrity of the facilities.
  • Roof repairs at Rose Center and Anspach Hall.
  • PBS Tower Maintenance.

Since CMU works to develop projects in the fall and winter, many contracts were in place before the pandemic restrictions. However, some projects were postponed, including the ongoing campus signage upgrade project and a refresh of the Subway restaurant at the Towers.

"With coronavirus, we're faced with difficult decisions. However, we must ensure campus is ready for classes in the fall," said Jonathan Webb, CMU associate vice president for facilities management. "In some cases, canceling a project could wind up costing the university, versus executing what was already planned and contracted. We determined that critical infrastructure and safety-related projects should continue as planned."

Adapting to change

Webb said adapting to change can be challenging, and the pandemic requires everyone to adjust and find opportunities for improvement.

The department overseeing campus construction will be right-sizing and has changed its name from Plant Engineering and Planning to University Engineering and Planning to better represent its scope of responsibilities.

Additionally, Facilities Management Project Manager Andy Reihl has been appointed interim director of University Engineering and Planning, following the retirement of Linda Slater in April.

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