The Building Tradesman Newspaper

Friday, June 14, 2019

NMU sees new energy with Northern Center

By Marty Mulcahy, Editor

MARQUETTE - Boldt Construction, its subcontractors and building trades union workers are erecting a bright, new, modern gathering place for Northern Michigan University.

Construction on the "Northern Center Renovation" will be ongoing this summer, and should be wrapped up in time for the fall semester. 

The $22.8 million project, managed by Boldt, began 13 months ago. It will enlarge and enhance the existing student center, making it more comfortable, welcoming, and functional (as well as multi-functional). “The design is dynamic, modern, functional and represents the energy we have today at Northern,” said President Fritz Erickson before construction started.

According to NMU, the project will include a student-centered core on the first floor, with a relocated Center for Student Enrichment, smaller bookstore and new student activity zone. The zone will feature a restaurant offering pub-style menu options, foosball, shuffleboard and electronic gaming. Outside of these spaces, there will be several open seating lounges. The second floor will feature a 12,000 square-foot ballroom/conference space and reconfigured Great Lakes Rooms.

The facility's conference function will be upgraded and enlarged, as will breakout and meeting rooms in the space. The roof of the second floor has been raised during the renovation, allowing for higher ceilings that current conference spaces lack. The ballroom will occupy the south wing, and will have an event capacity of 1,000. It can be subdivided into as many as five smaller spaces via portable partitions.

The two phases of construction include the demolition and reconstruction of the south wing, and the ongoing renovations to the "Great Lakes Wing." A new exterior façade with a contemporary canopy is being constructed at the main entrance to the building creating a unique, signature type facility. Mechanically, new chiller and main electrical switchgear are being installed.

THE $22.8 MILLION Northern Center renovation at Northern Michigan Univeristy in Marquette expands and enhances the student center. Photo by Jack Deo

IRON WORKERS Rich Roman and Joe Lippold work at the NMU Northern Center renovation and expansion project. They’re employed by Boldt. Photo by Jack Deo

ELECTRICIAN Bob Robertson of IBEW Local 906 installs conduit at the NMU Northern Center expansion project.  He’s employed by JP Electric. Photo by Jack Deo