University of Michigan to build new residence hall, marching band facility in Ann Arbor

Initial planning contract to cost $6.5 million, according to officials

University of Michigan campus aerial shot on Homecoming weekend in Oct. 2016 during the Illinois game: Burton Tower, Alumni Center, Michigan League, Chemistry Building, SNRE, Randall Lab, Hatcher Graduate Library, Kraus Natural Science. (Scott C.Soderberg, Michigan Photography)

ANN ARBOR – The University of Michigan has announced plans to develop a new, 2,300-bed residence hall for first-year students.

It will be the first time the university will build a freshman dorm on central campus in decades.

The new residence hall and dining facility will be located between Hoover Avenue and Hill Street at the current Elbel Field site.

As part of the project, the Michigan Marching Band’s Elbel Field practice facility will be relocated to the former Fingerle Lumber site on South Fifth Avenue which the university purchased in 2018.

The development plan was unanimously approved by the Board of Regents on Dec. 8. Robert A.M. Stern Architects are under contract for the initial planning phases.

According to a release, the firm will return to the Board on Feb. 16, 2023 to present their design for both a residence and dining hall consistent in character with other dorms on Central Campus and the new band practice facility. The construction schedule and project budget will also be presented at that time.

“We want to make sure all first-year students who want to live on Central Campus are able to live there,” said U-M President Santa J. Ono in a statement. “Since 2004, undergraduate enrollment has increased by more than 8,000 students, yet on-campus housing has simply not kept pace. Adding more on-campus housing capacity also will ensure more equitable access to affordable housing for those who need it.”

Plans were approved earlier this year to construct a new residence hall on North Campus, but that project has since been paused to address a higher demand for housing on Central Campus.

“We’ve fallen way behind the growing demand from undergraduates who want to live on campus beyond their freshman year,” vice president for student life Martino Harmon said in a statement.

“This fall, more than 2,300 students were turned away from campus housing due to lack of capacity and we know the desire to live on campus, especially among undergraduates, is significantly higher than the applications might suggest.”

Although there are newer buildings on Central Campus like the Munger Graduate Residences (2015) and North Quad (2010), a residence hall exclusively for first years has not been built since Oxford Houses opened in 1963.

Director of the Michigan Marching Band since 2013, John D. Pasquale said he is excited for the future of the band’s practice field, which will continue under the Louis Elbel name.

“As this process moves forward, we are confident the Michigan Marching Band will have incredible, best-in-class facilities that will allow the band to continue its unparalleled tradition and legacy well into the future,” Pasquale said in a statement.

Elbel composed the famous song “The Victors” in 1898.

Currently, university housing can accommodate 11,353 students, including 8,960 undergraduates and 2,393 graduate students. According to a release, 76% of undergrads who live on campus are first-year students.