Eastern Michigan University finalizes agreement to bring $200 million in new construction and renovations for transformational overhaul of student campus housing

Architectural rendering of proposed residence halls showing an aerial view

YPSILANTI –  Eastern Michigan University today (June 16, 2022) completed the final elements of the plan to invest $200 million in the overhaul of on-campus student housing. The plan includes the construction of two new residence halls, demolition of older units, and the renovation of all remaining residence halls except one that was recently renovated.

“Under our ‘Welcome Home 2025 plan, every residence hall that remains on our campus will be renovated other than Wise Hall, which was renovated in 2017. Plus, we will have two entirely new residence halls that will be stunning in their design,” said Eastern Michigan University President James Smith. “The new housing communities will be highly user-friendly and efficient for our students, and they will contribute greatly to the overall vibrancy of our campus environment. As of today, it’s all systems go for the start of this transformational project.”

Design work has been underway for several months in conjunction with students and employees, and construction is slated to begin this summer.

At its regular meeting today, the University’s Board of Regents approved the lease agreement and other related documents, which will lease the University’s campus housing system to EMU Campus Living, LLC. Under the agreement, EMU Campus Living will design, build, renovate, maintain, improve, and operate most aspects of the buildings in the University’s housing system for 35 years.

Among the signature elements of “Welcome Home 2025” is the construction of the approximately 400-bed apartment-style Lakeview residence hall next to the Student Center that will overlook the pond on the north side of campus. The other new residence hall will be located on the west side of campus near the Athletics complex. The new Westview facility will replace the current apartments, which will be demolished. It will feature approximately 300 beds. Visit the renderings page to view conceptual images of the new buildings.

The newly constructed and renovated residence halls and apartments will include state-of-the-art WiFi capabilities, air conditioning and room designs/layouts that meet the needs of students, who have had a significant role in the design process. The goal is to provide every EMU student housing resident with quality and affordable housing that includes proper technology to meet the demands of today’s academic world.

Gilbane Development Company was selected as the University’s student housing system operations partner in December 2021. This followed a process that began in 2018 and included a student survey, housing market study, housing master plan, and extensive engagement with faculty, staff, and students to help the University determine what students want in an on-campus housing experience.

Under the lease terms, the University will have no material responsibility for the debt repayment, but will receive all future income from the housing system during the term of the agreement. The University will retain important student-facing services, including residence life services, information technology services, residency assignments, billing and collections services, and marketing, and the University will be compensated for such services. Housing rates will be approved by a Management Review Committee comprised of University representatives, EMU Campus Living, and the Gilbane Property Manager. Under the terms of the agreement, any annual increase in housing rates the Committee recommends in excess of the greater of 3.4% or the Consumer Price Index (but not to exceed 6.8%) requires approval by the University.

Engagement with the campus community has been extensive during the initial three years of planning and since the December 2021 announcement. Visit the Welcome Home 2025 engagement page for a comprehensive list of campus engagement activities over the past six months. To learn more about the activities from 2018 to 2021, visit the planning timeline page on the Welcome Home 2025 site.

Recognizing that its student housing facilities are, on average, 57 years old and in need of substantial modernization, the University began formally exploring options for improving the University’s student housing system in 2018. The University engaged Rieth Jones Advisors (RJA), a trusted advisor in the university housing partnership industry, to provide advisory services throughout the entire process. RJA completed a student survey, housing market study, and housing master plan to help the University determine what students want in an on-campus housing experience. Students will continue to be engaged over the coming months during the pre-development process as well as throughout operations.

The University also engaged with the Student Government, University Budget Council, and Faculty Senate, allowing these bodies to provide their collective feedback regarding plans for upgrading and financing improvements to student housing. The University issued a public Request For Qualifications (RFQ) in June 2020, leading to a Request For Proposals (RFP) being issued in July 2021 to the selected firms from the RFQ. The University established a Review Committee to assess both the RFQ and RFP submissions, hear presentations, and conduct interviews with the potential development partners. As a result of the collective review process, the Review Committee recommended to the President that the University select Gilbane Development Company as its housing partner.

About Eastern Michigan University
Founded in 1849, Eastern is the second oldest public university in Michigan. It currently serves more than 15,000 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. 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.

June 16, 2022

Written by:
Walter Kraft

Media Contact:
Melissa Thrasher