After years of planning and fundraising, Western Michigan University will break ground at 10:30 a.m., Thursday, July 19, for a facility that will house the University’s archives as well as historical records for all of Southwest Michigan. The 16,000-square-foot, $8.3 million Legacy Collections Center, officially part of University Libraries, will be built on WMU’s Oakland Drive Campus.
The Legacy Collections Center will be built with private funding that includes several significant gifts. When finished, it will house more than 28,000 cubic feet of what is now known as the WMU Archives and Regional History Collections as well as overflow books and serials from the University Libraries. The collections include historical University, regional and local governmental records; manuscript collections; oral histories; census records; a research collection of books, magazines and newspapers; and several large photographic collections.
The Legacy Collections Center also will house the complete archives of the Kalamazoo Gazette, an arrangement that was worked out earlier this year and announced by the Gazette in May.
For more than 20 years, research and historical materials have been housed in East Hall, WMU’s first building. The collections are shelved in what was the campus’s gymnasium. Additional parts of the collections are in two off-site areas. The University’s long-term goal was to find or build a permanent home that is secure, climate-controlled and easily accessible by the general public. The planned building will bring together the collections from East Hall as well as the off-site storage areas.
The new building will include a large reading room with 1,250 linear feet of shelving, tables and seating for 24. The reading room will have the capacity to be transformed into a 72-seat event center for such activities as public lectures. The center also will have a two-story storage area with 30-foot tall compact shelving for materials and will have ample public parking just steps away.
Western Michigan University Scheduled to Break Ground For New Archives Facility Next Week
Filed by July 13, 2012on