MARQUETTE, Mich. — Northern Michigan University (NMU) began construction Aug. 4 on the first phase of a multiple building living-learning community intended to expand campus housing options. Upon completion, the project will add more than 1,200 new beds across an estimated 350,000 square feet, delivered in the second half of 2017 and the fall of 2018 to accommodate student housing needs during construction. The project is intended to address growing housing needs on the 9,000-student campus.
When complete, the new housing facilities will feature classrooms, study rooms, TV lounges and laundry facilities in a addition to student living spaces. A large patio area, fireplaces and lobbies will accommodate art shows, student events, university functions and various types of entertainment for residents year round, according to a statement by EdR of Memphis, Tenn., the project’s developer.
EdR will complete the project via a private-public partnership with the university. The firm was chosen through a competitive selection process to execute all aspects — including development, financing, construction and management — of the project, which will be the largest in the university’s history, according to a statement by the firm. Upon completion, EdR will operate the residence halls under a 75-year lease with NMU and will manage the facility while NMU will provide residence life services. EdR will finance the approximately $80 million housing development through its ONE Plan, which uses the company’s equity and financial stability to fund projects on university land, according to a statement by the firm.
"I think the enhanced on-campus housing is an incredibly positive, transformative opportunity for [NMU]," said NMU President Fritz Erickson in a statement. "It is going to allow us to greatly strengthen our capabilities to recruit and retain students in today’s highly competitive education environment, enrich student life and address a very serious facilities and maintenance issue."
"University leadership has made it clear that increased recruitment, enrollment and retention of top-level students is a priority at Northern Michigan University," said Tom Trubiana, EdR president, in a statement. "Partnering with NMU provides EdR the opportunity to deliver another on-campus housing community that gives the university both a state-of-the-art home for many of its students and a recruiting tool that will compete with any in the nation."
EdR selected Detroit-based Walbridge to manage construction of the six new residence hall buildings, which were designed by Neumann/Smith Architecture with offices in Detroit and Southfield, Mich. Neumann/Smith is also responsible for the redesign of the campus’ John X. Jamrich Hall — formerly a general use classroom building — into a high-tech, flexible, active learning environment that anticipates LEED BD+C certification.