Eastern Michigan University celebrates successful completion of Phase 1 Welcome Home 2025 renovations

The newly-renovated interior of Downing Hall with modern furnishings.

Ypsilanti - Eastern Michigan University (“EMU”) along with the entire Gilbane project team, is delighted to announce the completion and occupancy of Phase 1 for the EMU “Welcome Home 2025” project.  This significant milestone marks a pivotal step forward in enhancing the EMU residential campus, providing modern, updated and comfortable living spaces that inspire growth, learning, and camaraderie among students.  The Welcome Home 2025 project team includes Gilbane as developer and builder along with Michigan-based Clark Construction, and AVB, Inc. as design-builders. Progressive AE and Mackey Mitchell Architects are serving as architects of record, with minority-owned Moody Nolan, Inc. as associate design architect. Rieth Jones Advisors is providing advisory services to the University.

This Phase 1 Welcome Home Renovations Project includes the successful revitalization of three iconic residence halls – Downing Hall, Putnam Hall, and Walton Hall, each of which now embodies a new standard of excellence in on-campus living. The renovations were an integral part of EMU’s commitment to delivering modern, sustainable, and inclusive living environments.  

Key Accomplishments of Phase 1 include: 

Downing Hall Transformation: Downing Hall has been thoughtfully reimagined to offer contemporary, state-of-the-art amenities that cater to the needs of today's students. The modernized living spaces now provide a comfortable and engaging environment, fostering a sense of community, and belonging.  

Renovation amenities and technology include:

  • Updated and enhanced building exterior with all new roof and windows, stained brick façade, new entry canopy and ADA Accessible ramp and heated sidewalk 
  • Central Air Conditioning
  • Improved Wi-Fi Coverage
  • Electronic Key Door Locks
  • Fully Accessible Rooms
  • Energy Efficient LED Lighting
  • Prayer Room
  • Updated Common spaces with new technology and Furnishings.
  • Podcast/Video Recording Room with Green Screen
  • Updated Central Laundry Room
  • Updated Bathrooms with New Custom Cabinetry, Flooring and Fixtures

Putnam Hall Transformation: Putnam Hall's renovation showcases a harmonious blend of historic charm and modern convenience. The updated facilities boast enhanced study areas, communal spaces, and updated technology to enrich the academic and social experiences of its residents.  

Renovation amenities and technology include:

  • Central Air Conditioning
  • Improved Wi-Fi Coverage
  • Electronic Key Door Locks
  • Energy Efficient LED Lighting
  • Flooring throughout
  • All new lobbies, front desk and common space amenities

Walton Hall Transformation: Walton Hall has undergone a comprehensive transformation, setting a new standard for sustainable living on campus. The hall now features eco-conscious enhancements, energy-efficient systems, and a renewed focus on promoting environmental stewardship among students.  

Renovation amenities and technology include: 

  • Central Air Conditioning
  • Improved Wi-Fi Coverage
  • Electronic Key Door Locks
  • Energy Efficient LED Lighting
  • Flooring
  • Updated Lounge Space, Study Space, and Community Kitchen

"We are thrilled to announce the successful completion of Phase 1 in the EMU Welcome Home 2025 Renovations Project," said Geoff Eisenacher, Senior Development Director at Gilbane Development Company.  "Having been on EMU’s campus for several years, speaking to students throughout the engagement process and now witnessing the positive impact this first phase has already had on students' lives fills us with immense pride. Our commitment remains steadfast on enriching the student experience and creating a vibrant, comfortable and welcoming environment for the entire EMU community. We are looking forward to working with the rest of the team to complete the additional phases of this transformative project and the 700 BRAND new beds at Lakeview and Westview that are all ON THE WAY!.”

When complete, this three-year $200mm+ project, will include renovations to all remaining residence halls on the University’s campus, with enhancements to include new air conditioning, new bathrooms, and state-of-the-art technology. Several older housing units will be demolished as part of the plan. These include Best, Brown - Munson Apartments, Buell, Hill, Hoyt, Pittman, and the old Westview Apartments.  

The new Lakeview and Westview buildings feature an apartment-style living arrangement. These new facilities will transform the campus landscape, with the Lakeview Apartments located adjacent to the University’s Student Center, overlooking the pond and University Park. The new Westview Apartments are located between the west side of campus, which features many of the University’s Athletics facilities, and the main campus.

As part of Gilbane’s work, Eastern Michigan has also entered into a partnership with Eagle Energy Partners (“EEP”) as the Concessionaire, owned by CenTrio, which will bring deep energy-sector expertise to modernize utility systems and improve sustainability efforts across Eastern’s campus. EMU and Eagle Energy Partners have identified a series of projects that will reduce energy use and operating costs while enhancing the redundancy and reliability of the University’s electrical grid and its capacity.

Through optimizing utility and housing infrastructure, addressing deferred maintenance, and collaborating on the academic mission of the University, EMU leadership, Gilbane, and CenTrio are setting a new standard for higher education partnerships where students benefit from cost savings, increased campus sustainability and partners that are committed to student success now and far into the future.

About Eastern Michigan University
Founded in 1849, Eastern is the second oldest public university in Michigan. It currently serves more than 14,000 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; Engineering and Technology; Health and Human Services; and its graduate school. National publications regularly recognize EMU for its excellence, diversity, and commitment to applied education. Visit the University’s rankings and points of pride websites to learn more. For more information about Eastern Michigan University, visit the University’s website. To stay up to date on University news, activities, and announcements, visit EMU Today.

About Gilbane
Gilbane, Inc., a private holding company marking its 150th year in business, is one of the oldest and largest family-owned construction, investment, and real estate development firms in the world. Gilbane Development Company is the project development, financing, and ownership arm of Gilbane, providing a full slate of real estate development and property management services. Gilbane Building Company is a full-service construction services firm providing preconstruction, general contracting, construction management, and design-build services on some of the nation’s most complex projects. Gilbane’s Public Private Partnership Group has delivered or has underway more than $4 billion in P3 projects for healthcare, higher education, K-12 schools, and federal/state/municipal clients. Visit http://www.gilbaneco.com for more information.


Media contacts:
Melissa Thrasher
Director of Media Relations
Eastern Michigan University
mthrashe@emich.edu | +1 734 487 4401

Stephanie Handfield
Vice President of Marketing
Gilbane Development Company
shandfield@gilbaneco.com | +1 401 456 5456

September 06, 2023

Written by:
Stephanie Handfield, Gilbane Development Co.

Media Contact:
Melissa Thrasher