“Welcome Home 2025” is a housing plan Eastern Michigan University constructed to transform on-campus student housing to meet the demands of today's academic world.
The project, first announced in December 2021, follows a three-year timeline to make improvements to existing student housing, as well as to construct two new student housing buildings: Lakeview and Westview.
All 3,050 beds at EMU will be new and renovated. A significant portion of the new beds will come from the new housing buildings, with Lakeview providing 400 beds and Westview providing 300 beds.
The plan includes major renovations within residence halls, such as Downing, Phelps, Putnam, Sellers, and Walton. Some minor renovations will occur in EMU’s on-campus apartments, which include Cornell Court, Village Apartments, and 601 West Forest. In addition, the plan includes partial demolition of residence halls and apartments such as Best, Brown/Munson, Buell, Hill, Hoyt, Pittman, and Westview Apartments.
Gilbane Development Company is EMU’s development partner and has multiple projects underway at EMU. They have completed nearly 300 projects at other colleges and universities. Rieth Jones Advisors (RIA) is EMU’s development advisor and provides services for facility development.
The goal of this project is to complete all housing and new construction before the fall 2024 academic semester. Some goals for this project are to benefit the student experience and ensure there are enough available beds on campus for students who want to live on campus.
EMU hopes to incorporate more spaces that resemble the student experience in the new housing plan. Some of these features would include collaboration spaces, interview preparation spaces, and additional group meeting spaces. Other notable new features would include green screen rooms for filming, music practice spaces, and a podcast studio for students to use.
“We will have security cameras in place with any pathways lit, and we will make sure we have adequate lighting everywhere,” Anthony Sikora, senior project manager, said.
The project will incorporate technology to bring these buildings into the 21st century, with the safety of students at the forefront.
“Safety is wrapped into all decisions we make,” Jennifer Dilley, director of Campus Relations and Operations, said. “The new building will have fire suppression systems and alerts. Safety is at the center of what we want to achieve.”
Several renovations occurring at already existing buildings will help provide a better student experience at EMU, one change being the addition of an accesibility ramp alongside the front entrance of Downing Hall.
“We can only solve problems we are aware of, so thank you to the students who take our surveys and make us aware of issues,” Dilley said.
Since Jan. 1, the team has interacted with members of the university to gather data to improve and execute their plans. Over 1,850 students and 100 faculty members have participated in these surveys. Additionally, multiple students participated in focus groups alongside many meetings overall to discuss the housing plan.
“Every time you tell us something, we can take it back to the team,” Jeanette Zalba, director of Housing and Residence Life, said.
Those interested in learning more about the project can visit emich.edu/welcome-home-2025.