Michigan State Historic Preservation Review Board Special Meeting Minutes, August 23, 2016


Minutes Of The

State Historic Preservation Review Board Meeting

August 23, 2016, 1:30 P.M.
Miller boardroom, Western Michigan University
Kalamaoo, Michigan


Board Members Present

Brian Rebain, Grace A.M. Smith, Misty Jackson, Sally Bund, Kemba Braynon, Ted Ligibel

Board Members Absent

Jennifer Radcliff, Rhonda Baker, Dale Gyure

Staff Members Present

Bob Christensen, Brian Conway, Bethany Berdes, Todd Walsh, Kara Hart-Negrich, Todd Walsh, Mark Garcia

Members of the Public Present

Clifford Davidson, Frank Lucatelli, Greg Jones (Hopkins Design Studio), David Dakin (WMU), Nancy Finegood (MHPN), Greg Rosine (WMU), Katie John (WMU), Jan Van Der Kley (WMU), Rodger Parzyck, Christopher Wright (Kalamazoo Historic Preservation Commission), Jeff Weismann (Friends of Historic East Campus), Jack Urban (City Commissioner), David Brose (Kalamazoo Historic Preservation Commission, Friends of Historic East Campus Chair), Joshua Koenig (WMU), Bill Warren (WMU), Amanda Reintjes (MHPN), Sharon Ferraro (Kalamazoo Historic Preservation Coordinator), Jeff Chamberlain (City of Kalamazoo), Max Tibbitts, Suzanne Grimmer (WMU Public History student), Connor Eckler (WMU).

Ligibel called the meeting to order at 2:43 p. m. after a tour of the two sites in question; the Administration Building and the Western Michigan Normal School Historic District.

Discussion Amongst Review Board

Ligibel stated that the point of the meeting is for those on the Review Board to see the campus again even if they have already seen it and to get a better context of the two nominated properties and the campus.  He stated that there will not be any testimony or decisions made today. 

Ligibel asked everyone in the room to introduce themselves.  Please see above for all of those that were present at the meeting.

Ligibel opened the floor for Review Board members to ask any questions they had regarding the properties or campus of the University personnel or others present in the wake of the site visit today.

Bund states that the visit to the campus helped her immensely. She made note of the campus’ beautiful topography, which, she said, adds much to the feel and character of the campus.

Jackson would like to know if at the time of the original nomination consideration had been given to including the adjacent hospital property now part of the university campus.  Greg Jones (Hopkins Design Studio) noted that these parts of the campus were not added to the campus until after the original nomination was done.

Rebain noted that the University seems to place importance on their historic structures by currently providing them with  signage.  He would like to know why the same importance was not placed on the five buildings that were torn down.

David Dakim (WMU) said that the buildings were in such disrepair that their rehabilitation was not feasible and that they could not find a good use for them.  Jan Van Der Kley (WMU) also stated that the other buildings were of a design that really limited their re-use for new functions.  They could have only been used for offices or student quarters, not for academic functions.

Jan Van Der Kley (WMU) said that it cost 26 million dollars just to renovate the Administration Building, and this expense could only be justified in that the building was the most important for them from a historic standpoint.  She also pointed out that it was a great concern to the university, on account of the building’s condition, that the WMU Archives were housed in this building before the renovation, and the university had spent 8.6 million dollars to provide a state of the art Archives to replace the old one in the building.

Rebain also asked why they saved the central part of the façade of North Hall.  Jan Van Der Kley (WMU) said it was her idea.  She says the façade was one of the most attractive parts of the East Campus buildings and this feature formed a visual termination for the north end of the old East Campus.   

Ligibel thanked all of the community members and students for showing up.  He thanked the University for allowing the group to tour the campus.

David Dakim (WMU) stated that the university is proud of the Administration Building as it has been renovated as Heritage Hall and pointed out that they just won a Governor’s Award and that the building will be a LEED Platinum-certified building when they are finished.

Greg Jones (Hopkins Design Studio) asked what will be the process at the September review board meeting.  Ligibel stated that they will need to make a new brief presentation of the nominations at the next review board meeting and there will be an opportunity as before for public comment before the board votes.


Smith moved adjournment
Jackson supported the motion
Vote: 6-0

Meeting adjourned at 3:04 pm

Prepared by Bethany Berdes