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The Eastern Echo Thursday, June 20, 2024 | Print Archive
The Eastern Echo

Game Above Sign.jpeg

EMU awaits funding from state of Michigan to renovate Roosevelt Hall

The Eastern Michigan University Board of Regents has approved the renovation of Roosevelt Hall as the university’s top project request for state funding.

The renovation is part of a supported action request of the Fiscal Year 2025 Five-Year Capital Outlay Plan. The proposal is set to cost $42.5 million.

When Roosevelt High School opened in 1925, it was a brand-new laboratory school that served students in grades seven through 12. The high school had offices, clinic rooms, and a library located in the north wing. There was a 430-seat theater with a stage in the west wing, and the ground floor featured a cafeteria, showers, locker rooms, and a swimming pool in addition to departments of natural and physical science and home economics. 

When educational trends started to shift in the 1950s, university-maintained laboratory schools started to lose favor. The Roosevelt School was then mandated to close entirely by June 1969 under the terms of the Educational Appropriations Act passed in 1966.

Roosevelt High School plaque.jpeg
A plaque just outside the doors leading into Roosevelt Hall stating "Roosevelt High School" the building's historical purpose.

The GameAbove College of Engineering and Technology program will be renovated and then recorded as capital expenditures because the spending extends the useful life of its technological and engineering program. The amount of money spent to purchase, maintain, and repair a capital asset is referred to as capital outlay, these are assets that a business entity does not need to buy on a regular basis. This is seen as a way to improve capital assets, either increasing their market worth or extending usable life.

If the proposed request for state funding is approved by the state, $30 million is the maximum amount that can be contributed to the university. EMU would cover the remaining amount of $12.5 million. The importance of the project is due to Roosevelt Hall’s renovations being a part of phase two of the GameAbove College of Engineering and Technology Growth and Expansion project. The renovation will address the following issues:

  • Replacing roofing
  • Increasing handicap accessibility
  • Fixing outdated room layouts, orientations, and sizing
  • Fixing obsolete/failing building systems
  • Improving insulation via internal building envelope systems and replacing energy-inefficient windows

This will cost approximately $14.5 million in deferred maintenance and asset preservation and is part of the funds needed to continue Phase II. Right now Roosevelt Hall is 61,106 square feet, and the Fiscal Year 2025 Five-Year Capital Outlay Plan states it will expand to approximately 75,000 square feet. The added space will provide for student advising centers, collaboration spaces, and faculty offices, which will improve current teaching and researching opportunities within the building.

The programs residing at the moment in Roosevelt Hall are Visual and Built Environments, K-12 STEM outreach, ROTC-Military Science, and the Technology and Professional Services Management School, as well as the Cybersecurity and EMU Aviation programs.

"If the project is approved, further planning would be undertaken and timelines for completion would be estimated at that time," Melissa Thrasher, director of Media Relations at Eastern Michigan University said.