Overview of Summer’s Campus Renovations at UM-Flint

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New entrance into Willson Park
New entrance into Willson Park

Several summer renovations on campus are bringing improvements to the University of Michigan-Flint. Some are visually prominent, with school colors publicly displayed, and further connections made with the community. Some are behind the scenes but save energy and cut or avoid costs. Here is a look at what’s been done and is being worked on at UM-Flint. 

Willson Park

New picnic tables, lilac bushes, landscaping, and brick pavers are just some of the changes giving the park a fresh boost. 

Electrical upgrades have allowed more use of the stage for events like Music in the Park.
Electrical upgrades have allowed more use of the stage for events like Music in the Park.

George Hakim, Director of Facilities and Operations at UM-Flint, has seen a jump in people enjoying the park this summer. And with the enhancements, that should only continue, he said. 

“I think you are going to see an even more robust environment in the park,” Hakim said. 

This summer, several more picnic tables were added. A brick walkway was installed at the corner of Wallenberg Street and 1st Street to make the park more inviting, especially for visitors of the Flint Farmers’ Market.

Lilac bushes, a gift from Student Government to Chancellor Susan E. Borrego, were planted near the Gandhi Peace Garden as an appreciation for her and her work at the university.

Student Government helped add lilac bushes near the statue of Gandhi.
Student Government helped add lilac bushes near the statue of Gandhi.

Security cameras are being added in early August and an emergency blue light phone is slated to be installed in September, Hakim said.

Overall, the improvements further connect the campus to the community, Hakim said. 

Murchie Science Building

The third phase of the Murchie Science Building capital outlay project is taking place this summer. The fume hood exhaust systems for the labs are being replaced, increasing efficiency and control of the systems, said Tim Barden, Assistant Director of Facilities and Operations.

New fume hood exhaust systems for the labs have been installed.
New fume hood exhaust systems for the labs have been installed.

The ventilation systems, including the fans that control the air conditioning and heat in the building, are being replaced, Barden said. This will increase the energy efficiency within the facility. New furniture is being provided in the center building connector spaces to make them a more pleasant and useful environment. All new lab stools are being provided to increase comfort for students.

University Pavilion

UM-Flint “Go Blue” pride is in full effect with the exterior of the Pavilion painted maize and blue. Work started in June. The project includes the painting of the adjacent rink, as well as the annex by the rink and the parking deck. Inside, railings and window trim have been painted.

University Pavilion has a new coat of paint, new signage, and a new clock.
University Pavilion has a new coat of paint, new signage, and a new clock.

The clock tower, at the corner of Kearsley Street and Saginaw Street, has been repaired and refurbished and looks “like new.”  A new University of Michigan-Flint sign has been added to the Kearsley side of the Pavilion.

Lighting

Enhanced lighting has been added to the lobby of the Michigan Rooms in the Harding Mott University Center. The new LED lights will reduce energy consumption and brighten the lobby, Barden said.

New lights in the lobby outside the Michigan Rooms is brighter and more welcoming.
New lights in the lobby outside the Michigan Rooms are brighter and more welcoming.

Behind the scenes, approximately 150 lights used in utility areas around the campus have been upgraded to energy efficient LED lights. The new lights use 38 watt bulbs, versus  the old 150 watt bulbs, and also provide brighter lighting. Projects were completed as a team effort by the university’s facilities maintenance and skilled trades employees.

Northbank Center

The “Simply To Go” Café, located on the lower level of the north building, has been doubled in size, Barden said, creating a more spacious environment for students to study or converse. A wall adjacent to the original café was torn down, opening up the space with new a seating area, casework, lighting, and tile flooring added in the expanded space.

The expanded "Simply to Go" Cafe in the basement of Northbank Center.
The expanded “Simply to Go” Cafe in the basement of Northbank Center.

Also within Northbank, two boilers dating back to the early 1980s are being replaced with four energy efficient boilers, said Rocco Nardi, a steamfitter on the Facilities and Operations staff. The new, high efficiency boilers are projected to save about $14,000 annually, Barden said. By doing this project with in-house workers, the project is containing approximately $100,000 in construction costs, he said.

New boilers in the Northbank Center will save thousands in energy costs.
New boilers in the Northbank Center will save thousands in energy costs.

William S. White Building

In response to issues raised at last year’s student concerns forum, a new dust collection system and paint spray booth have been installed in the 3D Art Studio on the fourth floor of the building.

A new dust collection system and paint spray booth were installed in the 3D Art Studio.
A new dust collection system and paint spray booth were installed in the 3D Art Studio.

Recreation Center

New flooring is being added throughout the Recreation Center this month, including in the free weight room, the cybex area, and gym. The gym is scheduled to be closed through August 13. The free weight room and cybex area, along with the racquetball courts, will be closed through August 19, although the racquetball court flooring will not be replaced. The entire Recreation Center, including the swimming pool, will be closed from August 10 through August 13.

Robert is a staff writer in the Office of University Relations. Contact him with comments, questions, and story ideas.