The University of Michigan’s forthcoming student housing project is now facing a budget increase of $141 million compared to its previous estimates, along with a six-month delay in completion.
Originally planned as a $490-million endeavor, the university’s Board of Regents approved the Central Campus student housing project’s revised budget on September 21.
To facilitate the project, an initial $30 million was allocated for critical early work, which included addressing drainage infrastructure issues at the former Elbel Field, a site earmarked for construction.
This infrastructure work delayed the project’s start, as Ann Arbor city officials confirmed. Now that the drainage concerns have been resolved, the project is expected to adhere to an expedited timeline, aiming for completion by the summer of 2026.
Initially, the project was intended to add 1,300 beds by fall 2025, with an additional 1,000 beds planned for fall 2026.
However, the first phase’s completion has been postponed until the subsequent summer. The project consists of two phases, with the second phase expected to add approximately 2,200 more beds, although a specific completion date remains undetermined.
Drainage issues in the older infrastructure of Ann Arbor were cited as a common factor affecting multiple construction projects in the area, including the Michigan Marching Band Facility.
The university views this housing project as a step towards improving student affordability. The development, known as the “student precinct,” designed by New York-based architectural firm Robert A.M. Stern Architects, will feature 900 dining hall seats.
It includes five residence halls, courtyards, and ground floors dedicated to various services, such as multicultural, wellness, and technology facilities.
The buildings will be LEED-certified and align with the university’s carbon neutrality goals through geothermal exchange systems and an all-electric kitchen.
The project’s affordability aims to provide an alternative to costly off-campus housing. It will also be named in honor of E. Royster Harper, vice president emerita for student life, becoming the first building on U-M’s campus to be named after a Black woman.