Christman Construction Company. Since 1894.

Western Michigan University

College of Engineering and Applied Sciences

Kalamazoo, Michigan

  • Contract Type:
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  • Cost Range:
  • Size:
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  • Construction Management
  • New Construction
  • $79,194,000
  • 360,000 s.f.
  • Harley Ellis Devereaux and Rosetti
  • September, 2003

2004 ABC West Michigan Construction Award
2004 AGC Build Michigan Award Nominee
2004 ABC National Construction Award Nominee

The College of Engineering and Applied Sciences at the heart of Western Michigan University’s 265-acre Parkview Campus – three miles south of WMU’s main campus in Kalamazoo – is the University’s largest building. It serves as home to nine engineering departments and 3,000 students, and anchors the City of Kalamazoo’s new Business and Technology Research Park, a collaboration between the University, the City and many corporations.

The park has been designated a Michigan SmartZone and is home to ten companies in the life sciences, information technology and advanced engineering fields. The park is intended to serve as a forum for public/private partnerships to benefit both WMU engineering students and industry through education, research and employment opportunities.

The high-technology project involved not only construction management of the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences building itself, but several related projects including construction of two parking decks and site work for the 70 acres surrounding the building. Within this site is the 120-foot, pyramid-shaped fibre optic “Icon” sculpture, a paper technology building, an energy resource center, and other research park projects. Christman also provided move management services, handling the lab equipment relocation and installation, which involved more than 500 pieces of equipment.

The building features two brick wings – each more than two stories and 600 feet long – joined by a central glass hub which houses lecture, commons and deans’ office areas. The wings, which house classrooms, laboratories and offices, are structural steel frame with mechanical penthouse and electrical basements. Each wing’s enclosure is precast concrete, with integrally cast natural brick exterior and both continuous ribbon and punched windows. Two parking decks which accommodate 1,000 cars adjoin the wings to the south. Building services (steam, chilled water and electricity) are provided from the adjoining, privately owned energy resource center. The connector has a bridge area with a natural stream flowing beneath, and native grasses and plantings have been used throughout the site to preserve the indigenous “prairie” look.

The building’s “lighted industrial” design theme reflects its purpose as an engineering teaching facility. The labs and corridors feature exposed concrete floors and ceilings showing the true engineering and construction of the building. Building materials include brick/precast, burnished block, terrazzo, and similar long life-cycle materials.

The facility is a wireless computing environment, but also includes extensive hard wiring for high-end computing needs and interactive instruction. Distance learning labs enable live interaction from the classroom at WMU to any classroom in the world with compatible, interactive equipment. Conference rooms have full interactive capabilities for live video conferencing.

Due to the building’s remote proximity to the main campus downtown, security is a major focus, with card access and surveillance cameras being key components. The building management system and lighting in labs and offices are motion controlled smart systems to efficiently control lighting and building heating/cooling systems for both scheduled and unscheduled occupancy.

The sheer magnitude of this project entailed massive amounts of construction materials, including:

15,000 cubic yards of concrete
1,400 tons of structural steel
95,000 square feet of precast
More than 650 doors
970,000 linear feet of Unshielded Twisted Pair (UTP) cable with 9,200 jacks
295,000 feet of conduit
1.1 million feet of wire

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College of Engineering and Applied Sciences
College of Engineering and Applied Sciences
College of Engineering and Applied Sciences
College of Engineering and Applied Sciences
College of Engineering and Applied Sciences
College of Engineering and Applied Sciences
College of Engineering and Applied Sciences
College of Engineering and Applied Sciences
College of Engineering and Applied Sciences
College of Engineering and Applied Sciences