BATTLE CREEK - The old Miller Physical Education Building had provided good service to Kellogg Community College students for half a century.
But it needed all manner of renovations and more room for its modern usage - and it didn't make economic sense to put big money into an outmoded building. That's why the new Miller Physical Education Building is under construction - on the site of its demolished predecessor along North Avenue.
KCC President Mark O’Connell said the new building will create opportunities for facility efficiency and programming flexibility, and is designed to serve the school's needs for decades to come. “Our instructors, students, athletes, coaches and community members enjoyed much success in the old facility, and we’re expecting that tradition of excellence to continue when the new Miller Building opens in 2018,” O'Connell said at the groundbreaking. “We are extremely grateful for the taxpayers and our community partners who have supported the college over the years and helped us keep our campus beautiful and high-functioning.” KCC will pay for the estimated $10 million project with revenue from a capital millage approved by voters in 2012.
Slated to be open in late summer 2018, the new Miller Building will be the modernized home of KCC Athletics and Physical Education programming. The new building will have dedicated space for the college’s physical education curriculum, a bigger weight and workout room, a bigger gymnasium, dedicated space for KCC Police Academy fitness training, and more efficient heating and cooling systems. The building also will host the home games for KCC basketball and volleyball teams.
"They couldn't figure out a way to make everything they wanted to do work with the old building, so it made more sense to tear it down and rebuild," said Project Supt. Dave Buhler of Schweitzer, the company managing the project along with Walbridge.
Buhler said the trades have been making "pretty good progress" since the May groundbreaking, although labor availability "has been an issue in the area for the past several years." He said when ground work was taking place, "less-than-ideal soil conditions resulted in the placement of some really wide footings on the east end, but since then we've move along very nicely." He said the project would put to work about 30 tradespeople at peak employment.
Opened in 1966, the former Miller building was closed in December 2016. College officials reviewed multiple design options over the prior two years and determined that a replacement, rather than renovation, was the most cost-effective solution for updating the Miller Building.
During the construction period, activities have been relocated to the Battle Creek Central Fieldhouse and the Battle Creek YMCA Multi-Sports Center.
“The Miller Building has helped KCC to build a strong foundation of excellence among student-athletes and physical education students over the past several decades,” said Tom Shaw, director of KCC Athletics and Physical Education. “The new facility will help us expand on our current strengths and allow us to offer students and community members new and better opportunities to continue that tradition.”
THE NEW MILLER Physical Education Building on the campus of Kellogg Community College in Battle Creek is being erected atop the old demolished physical education building, encompassing about 43,500 square feet of land.
SETTING UP CONDUIT to provide service to the gymnasium at the Kellogg Community College Miller Physical Education Building are (l-r) journeyman Rick Knight and fifth-year apprentice Tom Daley of IBEW Local 445. They’re employed by Union Electric.