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Mackinaw City Welcome Center reopens after bathroom upgrades project

GAYLORD, Mich. - The Michigan Department of Transportation's (MDOT) Mackinaw City Welcome Center reopened today, nearly a week ahead of schedule, after an extensive remodeling project that upgraded the facility’s restrooms and windows.

The $409,000 project included replacement of all windows with energy-efficient units, all restroom floor and wall tiles, and most fixtures, including lighting fixtures, mirrors and stall dividers. The facility has been closed since Oct. 17, 2022, and was originally planned to reopen by Feb. 11.

"I have really missed the visitors and am looking forward to greeting them again soon," said facility manager Karrie White. "I am very excited for the travelers to see our building and to hear all the feedback about the fresh new look. Being that the building was built more than 50 years ago, the renovations were needed in order to maintain the facility and keep it safe and welcoming to the traveling public."

The project also brought the facility up to current Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards, to the extent possible for a building first opened in 1957. The restrooms with entrances on the outside of the building are fully accessible and include changing stations. The lobby entrance now has accessible push-button opening doors. The exterior of the facility, including sidewalks and other amenities, were upgraded to ADA standards in summer 2022.

Bob Ciupka, contracts manager for MDOT's North Region, said that while the new windows look similar to the old, they are much improved.

"The old windows were single-paned, and we had a lot of energy loss," Ciupka said. "The new windows are double-paned and gas-filled, though they look just like the originals. We expect to see big gains in heating and cooling efficiency."

White said that while the bathrooms have always been clean, they were in need of a renovation after decades of use.

"The center looks amazing, and it is a beautiful fresh look for the facility," she said. “Our guests will find the restrooms very welcoming, and the fresh new look should be even more appealing. I feel this will be a stop that will bring repeat visitors for many years."

A map of all MDOT rest areas and Welcome Centers is available online.

Newly renovated Mackinaw City Welcome Center bathroom upgrades.  Newly renovated Mackinaw City Welcome Center bathroom upgrades.

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