Time: 3 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 7. 2019, shortly after the regular meeting of the EMU Board of Regents. Parking is available in the McKenny lot, at the corner of Oakwood Street and Washtenaw Avenue.
Ceremony: Speakers will include remarks from President James Smith, James Webb, Chair, EMU Board of Regents; Dana Heller, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences; Christine Clark, a professor in the Department of Geography and Geology; and James Herman, an Honors College student in physics and engineering.
Description of the building: Light now streams through a formerly dark and cramped student gathering area, a space now rebuilt into a vibrant, two-story centerpiece atrium area in which students can socialize, relax and study. Striking light fixtures that call to mind images of the planet Saturn hang from the ceiling. That makes sense, given that the Department of Physics and Astronomy is housed in Strong Hall, along with the Department of Geography and Geology.
Professors and lecturers now hold class in modern classrooms and labs that are mixed with spacious and flexible areas for research and instruction. Throughout the building, students can now chat in comfortable areas where they once sat on floors or old random chairs.
Everywhere, it seems, light streams in. No longer is it a nondescript building hunkered down in the middle of the Eastern campus. It’s now a showpiece, an attractive yet highly functional facility.
Background: Strong Hall opened with the start of Winter 2019 classes, a milestone for Eastern as it marked the completion of the third and final phase of the Science Complex, which includes the renovated Mark Jefferson Building and the Science Complex Addition. The building represents Eastern's ongoing commitment to educating students in STEM disciplines and preparing them for careers in high-demand fields.
Construction on Strong Hall began in Fall 2017, and involved a complete building renovation and addition for a crucial facility that houses numerous labs for STEM classes. The project involved renovation of the entire 80,713 square feet structure – both the visually striking changes and additions in the new atrium area, along with the necessary updating of architectural, structural, mechanical and electrical systems.
The project, which was supported by the state of Michigan, cost $40 million. At a funding mix of 75 percent state and 25 percent University, Eastern's cost share was about $10 million.
Strong Hall was built in 1957 and had not received any significant overall improvements since its construction. It had been Eastern’s top capital outlay project since fiscal year 2010, the year after EMU received state funding for its Pray-Harrold Building renovation.
Meanwhile Eastern invested $90 million in the renovation of the adjacent Mark Jefferson building and the construction of 80,000 square feet of new academic facilities, a spectacular building addition that includes a planetarium suspended above an atrium area.
And now, the project, the largest in Eastern’s history, is complete, with each of the three adjacent buildings or stages connected to make up the whole Science Complex.
About Eastern Michigan University
Founded in 1849, Eastern is the second oldest public university in Michigan. It currently serves more than 19,000 students pursuing undergraduate, graduate, specialist, doctoral and certificate degrees in the arts, sciences and professions. In all, more than 300 majors, minors and concentrations are delivered through the University's Colleges of Arts and Sciences; Business; Education; Health and Human Services; Technology, and its graduate school. EMU is regularly recognized by national publications for its excellence, diversity, and commitment to applied education. For more information about Eastern Michigan University, visit the University's website.