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After significant study of alternatives to bring Eastern Michigan University’s original McKenny Student Union up to today’s standards, a decision was made to construct a new 180,000 square foot facility central to the growing campus. In the heart of campus, an outdoor lake and recreation facility had been constructed in prior years, which had little visibility from the edges of campus and could easily be missed by prospective students. A site analysis and siting study was prepared by Beckett & Raeder, Inc. to locate the new Student Center in the vicinity of this recreational amenity that could benefit both the recreation facility and the new Student Center.


Strategically the site provided a strong link between the historic southern campus and the expanded northern campus, which contained much of the new campus housing areas. It also bridged the valley between east and west campus housing areas providing nearly all of the housing facilities better access to this student activity center.


The lake was situated adjacent to a county drain that was running at or near capacity. Paramount to the siting of the facility was protection of the county drain and further enhancement of storm water management in this vicinity of campus. A major pedestrian linkage from the Library and Parking Structure was bridged over the county drain providing a dramatic southern entrance to the center. The lake was expanded to provide enhanced storm water management as well as spectacular views for the glass wall of the student center activity spaces. Terraced seating provides plenty of space for students and visitors to sit or lounge on the lawn terraces overlooking the lake.


Beckett & Raeder, Inc. was responsible for site selection, site analysis, site design, civil engineering and construction administration. The overall site project budget was $3.8 million. Value engineering was engaged throughout the project

Eastern Michigan University
New Student Center
Ypsilanti, Michigan

2016 Landscape Architectural Sustainability Honor Award

Michigan Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects

2013 Great Lakes Park, Facility, & Recreation Program Award
Great Lakes Park Trailing Institute
2012 Oak Land Award
Oakland County
2011 Landscape Design Award
Michigan Recreation & Park Association
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