Eastern Michigan University plans major improvements for Sill Hall and Rec/IM building, along with a new sports medicine and training building

Eastern Michigan University plans major improvements for Sill Hall and Rec/IM building, along with a new sports medicine and training building
The renovation of the Rec/IM includes renovating entrances, adding new and expanded locker rooms, and creating open spaces for cardio and weight training equipment.

YPSILANTI – Eastern Michigan University is embarking on three new capital projects that embrace major improvements in the areas of academics, student life and athletics.

The three projects are:

• The renovation and expansion of Sill Hall, home of the College of Technology, in support of the University’s existing, new and future engineering and technology programs – which are a crucial element in furnishing skilled professionals for high-demand jobs in Michigan. The estimated cost is $40 million.

• Renovation of the Rec/IM facility, to be initiated in summer of 2018. The extensive Rec/IM Building plan, which is a major student priority among our students, includes a variety of upgrades that will increase the facility’s physical appeal as well as the range of activities, services and student wellness initiatives available. The estimated cost is $16 million.

• Construction of a new building to provide contemporary sports medicine and performance training services. The estimated cost, which will be heavily supported by fundraising, is $20 million.

The EMU Board of Regents approved the three supplemental capital projects, with a total cost of $76 million, at its regular meeting Friday, Dec. 15.

“These three projects constitute a powerful step forward in the ongoing dynamic transformation of our academic, recreational and training facilities for our students, faculty, staff and varsity athletes,” said EMU President James Smith. “I’m excited to think of how our students will benefit from the variety of major University enhancements approved today.”

Go to our gallery to see conceptual drawings of the proposed EMU capital improvement plans for Sill Hall, Rec/IM and the sports medicine and training facility.

Sill Hall renovation and expansion

The Sill Hall renovation and expansion project provides new engineering programs such as mechanical engineering and computer and electrical engineering with renovated lab space for research, computer simulation, virtual and augmented reality and other specialty purposes, along with lecture halls, collaborative learning spaces and administrative offices.

The existing 92,635 square feet at Sill Hall will be renovated while expanding the building space by an additional 16,000 square feet. This capital investment will support our existing technology and information assurance programs, while providing the foundation to allow Eastern’s engineering programs be a growth area for the University for years to come.

The project will be conducted in phases to accommodate the Strong Hall renovation project, now currently underway, as well as maintain ongoing operation of Sill Hall during the project. Sill Hall remains the University’s top priority in its annual request to the state for Capital Outlay funds, and any work completed during the phased stages will reduce the overall cost of any state-approved project. The initial phasing of renovations for Sill Hall is expected to result in $3 million in improvements to the facility in both FY19 and FY20.

Rec/IM facility renovation

The renovation of the Rec/IM facility provides needed updates and repairs to the existing facilities. The Rec/IM facility was originally constructed in 1981 and has not received any major improvements other than routine maintenance since its original construction.

The capital improvement project consists of the reconfiguration of existing spaces to accommodate new and expanded locker rooms, an entry modification to the Club Pool and open spaces to accommodate cardio and weight training equipment.

Specific, currently planned improvements include:

  • Renovation of 72,000 square feet of existing space and the addition of more than 33,000 square feet of new space.
  • A new two-floor area for free weights facing west, with an expansive view (with large new windows) of the Student Center.
  • A new second-floor cardio area facing east, with an expansive view through new large windows.
  • A new rock climbing wall.
  • A new first-floor games area with pool tables and other games.
  • Renovation of the Club Pool to accommodate individuals with limited mobility.
  • Renovation of Club Pool locker rooms.
  • A new Club Pool observation area.
  • An open first-floor space for students to congregate.
  • A new pro shop and new concession area.
  • New windows added in the Natatorium (Jones Pool).
  • The east entrance will be renovated and expanded.
  • The north entrance will be renovated.
  • New finishes on the third-floor basketball courts.
  • All mechanical features throughout the building will be updated.

The renovation cost of $16 million includes design and equipment costs. This project will be implemented in phases to maintain operations during construction.

Sports medicine and training facility

The new construction project for sports medicine and student athlete training facilities provides for a 60,000 square foot structure that will house the University’s student athlete sports medicine and performance training space and equipment, team meeting rooms and coach’s offices, while also including a video board at Rynearson Stadium. The structure will be located near the northwest corner of Rynearson, and is the first major athletics facility enhancement designed to service nearly every one of EMU’s 21 varsity teams since the Convocation Center was completed in 1998.

The capital investment will provide a modern training and sports medicine services environment for the University’s approximately 550 student athletes, consolidating athletics facilities that are currently divided among the University’s athletics campus and central campus.

The project is the initial phase of the Championship Building Plan and is designed to be heavily supported by fundraising efforts. Those efforts so far have resulted in substantial commitments to the project, and additional gifts are expected. The timeline for the project has not been finalized.

“We are a piece of a larger University campaign that will forever transform EMU,” said Scott Wetherbee, vice president and director of athletics at EMU. “This new sports medicine and performance training facility will consolidate department infrastructure and help provide a safe, effective environment with the highest levels of care for our students while helping EMU more closely align with its peers in the Mid-American Conference and throughout the region.”

The current video board at Rynearson Stadium was installed in August 2009 and was a retrofit into the existing structure that was installed during a stadium renovation project in 1991-92. The new board will provide expanded marketing and advertising opportunities, generating additional revenue.

At the completion of the project, the bricks from the ongoing fundraising brick campaign will be installed. Plans for the continuation of the Championship Building Plan, which could include the movement of sports practice sites in Bowen Field House to a new building that would also house facilities for other sports, remain in development.

Fiscal implications of the three projects

In approving the projects, the Regents authorized spending in addition to the capital budget approved by the Board on February 7, 2017 for the 2017-2018 fiscal year. Funding for these three projects will include fundraising, University resources and future University borrowing, and, in the case of Sill Hall, might also include state capital outlay funding, similar to that which helped fund recent major improvements in the Pray Harrold Building and Strong Hall.

About Eastern Michigan University

Founded in 1849, Eastern is the second oldest university in Michigan. It currently serves more than 20,000 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.



December 15, 2017

Written by:
Geoff Larcom

Geoff Larcom