Source: Ursula Zerilli
Department: Kalamazoo Gazette
KALAMAZOO, MI - The construction of Kalamazoo College's new Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership is slated to begin next week after being postponed in October.
K-College spokesman Jeff Palmer said the college plans to begin contouring land, drilling for a future geothermal heating and cooling system and removing retaining walls as soon as Monday.
If weather permits, Palmer said construction crews could begin pouring concrete within two weeks.
Award-winning architect Jeanne Gang, the founder of Studio Gang Architects in Chicago, designed the contemporary facility, which will become the permanent home for the Arcus Center, which aims to develop new leaders in the field of human rights and social justice.
The center received a $23 million grant from the Arcus Foundation, the largest gift ever received by the college, in January. Jon Stryker, the founder of the Arcus Foundation and alum of K-College, is funding the $5 million single-story, 10,000-square-foot building.
Neighbors - some who have said the curvy, three-winged building with windowed walls does not fit in the traditional West Main neighborhood - were informed about the start of construction this week and were among the first to view the college's building plans in 2011.
An official groundbreaking event will be held in the spring, and the project is expected to take about 13 months to complete. Miller Davis has been the hired as the project's general contractor.
Aside from the building's unique design, it will feature wood masonry using Michigan-grown white cedar, marking the first time "the low-carbon and highly insulating" building technique has been used for an institutional project, according to K-College and the architects. The college is using LEED certification guidelines for construction.
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