MARQUETTE — The maximum amount of time allowed for public comment was used and then some at this morning’s Northern Michigan University Board Of Trustees meeting.
The vast majority of speakers opposed the new location of the dorms, which in result will require 15% of the natural plant study area to be relocated.
The Board of Trustees stated that they appreciated the comments, but still approved of the construction. The decision left many feeling unimportant and unheard.
“It’s not new dorms that draw students to this campus,” said recently retired NMU Faculty Member Ron Sundell, “they’re looking for a real good education, they understand the environment that we live in. They come up for that as well. We were developing that type of environment right here on campus and now a portion of it will be destroyed by the university. The administration doesn’t understand the true values the students hold and what’s important to them.”
President Erickson, along with the Board of Trustees, stated that they felt this was a step in the right direction for improving enrollment and the future of the university.
“What I see is the loss of 15% of this area is replaced by opportunity,” said NMU President Dr. Fritz Erickson, “I think this is actually a wonderful thing for the long–term sustainability of the university. When you consider the energy savings that these new facilities will provide, the opportunities to create whole new areas to promote sustainable efforts. I think you’re going to see five years from now, a very different campus.”
The 88 million dollar project is scheduled to begin in a few weeks. The Gant, Payne, Spaulding, and Halverson dormitories will be demolished.
President Erickson added that the university will be providing the resources necessary for relocating the plant–life.