TRAVERSE CITY — Northwestern Michigan College will issue $7.3 million in bonds after the Board of Trustees at its regular meeting Monday gave its unanimous approval, with proceeds from the sale of bonds being used to fund renovations to West Hall.

The project will transform the 53-year-old building into the Innovation Center, adding about 25,000 square feet of new space and renovating about 13,000 square feet into student-centered workspaces, simulation labs, conference rooms and classrooms.

Half of the price tag for the $14.4 million renovation — NMC's largest in 15 years — will be paid for through the state's capital outlay budget, with the college funding the rest through the sale of bonds that will be paid back over the next 20 years.

The Thrun Law Firm of East Lansing has also been retained as the college's bond counsel. The Detroit-based Miller Canfield had been NMC's bond counsel for many years, but Thrun was chosen after requests for proposals for the 2018 bond issue were sent out in January.

Renovations to West Hall were originally to start in early June, but have been delayed until a demolition schedule is set, said Trustee Chris Bott, chair of NMC's building and site committee.

Bott said there is a lot of infrastructure tied into the building, including tunnels, and it's still being determined what is being taken down and what is being reconfigured. He hopes to have a demolition schedule in place by the next committee meeting on June 12.

"We're hoping by then to have a final demolition schedule," Bott said. "That's going to drive the whole construction project."

The project is slated to be finished by fall of 2019.

As part of the project the Osterlin Library will be moved to the new Innovation Center and will have expanded hours. The new library is slated to cost $6 million and is also being funded by the college.

The former library building may in the future be used to locate student services such as advising, counseling, financial aid, student life and tutoring all in one place. That project is not yet funded.

The radio station, WNMC-FM, will remain in the building, as will the Hawk Owl Cafe, though it will be housed temporarily at the Oleson Center during construction. The bookstore will have a new home in the Health & Science Building.

Cornerstone Architecture is the architect for the Innovation Center; Spence Brothers is the construction manager.

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