Trotter Center renovations total $650,000

By Claire Bryan, Daily Staff Reporter
Published September 29, 2014

Though University officials pledged $300,000 in additional upgrades to the Trotter Multicultural Center last winter, the renovation’s cost ultimately totaled $650,000, according to officials familiar with the project.

University spokesman Rick Fitzgerald said the University had already allocated $350,000 for renovations at Trotter when the University’s Black Student Union first lobbied for a more adequate facility in January, bringing the project total to $650,000.

While the University announced it would provide $300,000 for repairs — in direct response to one of the Black Student Union’s seven demands to increase diversity and inclusion on campus — the project’s total costs had not been previously reported.

The facility reopened its doors earlier this month.

Loren Rullman, associate vice president for student life, said the University’s Architecture, Engineering and Construction — a division of Facilities and Operations — worked with students to identify priorities for renovation.

“Feedback from students and staff about these improvements has been incredibly positive,” he said.

Upgrades included removing and trimming of exterior shrubbery, replacement of old entrance doors and locking devices, new interior painting, window repairs and caulking, desk lams and task lighting improvements, parking lot repairs and resurfacing.

“The second $300,000 was an acknowledgement that the multicultural center matters,” Rullman said. “It was sort of a bridge between the current multicultural center … and our plans for a new one. The funding conveys the University’s commitment to student needs and our institutional values of community and diversity.”

“The funding conveys the University’s commitment to student needs and our institutional values of community and diversity,” Rullman added.

The University has agreed to eventually relocate Trotter to a facility closer to campus, based on the requests by the BSU.

Jackie Simpson, the newly appointed director of Trotter, said necessary improvements also included those to air conditioning units and safety lighting.

In an interview with The Michigan Daily, Simpson said Trotter is also launching a series of new initiatives on top of facility changes.

A student programing board is in the works, as well as a multicultural advisory board intended to discuss current campus climate issues. Organizers are also planning to launch a health and wellness initiative, which will include Zumba classes and designated forums for students to engage in discussion.

As the University plans for a new Trotter, Rullman said there is not yet a budget set aside for that project. The planning process is currently underway and the first focus group met last Wednesday. Simpson said she strongly desires a central location for the new center.

“I am firmly committed for there to be a multicultural center on Central Campus,” Simpson said. “My goal in this facility is to make it a place and space that, until the new facility is built, students feel good about coming to.”