MARQUETTE - Gov. Rick Snyder has signed a capital outlay bill that would provide $33 million to Northern Michigan University in its effort to demolish John. X. Jamrich and Walter F. Gries halls in favor of a new building.
According to previous reports from NMU, the new building could save the university about $180,000 annually in operating costs through energy efficiency and better use of space, Jim Thams, associated director for engineering and planning, said previously.
Housing both the classrooms from Jamrich and the faculty offices from Gries, the new building would reduce the size of the university's campus by 36,000 square feet and significantly alter the landscape of the academic mall, as it would attach to the Learning Resource Center.
Though roughly 40 percent of classroom instruction currently takes place in Jamrich Hall, much of the space - specifically in the larger lecture halls located on the first floor - is underused, according to Thams.
To help with this problem and others like it, NMU hired an outside classroom efficiency consultant company that took a look at how Jamrich Hall is being used and assisted in the planning of the new building, which would increase the number of 30-40 seat classrooms and decrease the number of large lecture halls on campus.
The capital outlay bill Snyder is expected to sign funds 18 infrastructure projects at colleges and universities throughout the state, totaling $613 million, with the state providing about half that at $300 million.