U of M Michigan Union building gets a face-lift

The intricate designs from the original 1919 Michigan Union were replicated in many features of the building, including the railings that overlook the newly enclosed courtyard. These wrought iron railings add a nice feature to the eye of students as they visit the building.

Austin Thomason

The intricate designs from the original 1919 Michigan Union were replicated in many features of the building, including the railings that overlook the newly enclosed courtyard. These wrought iron railings add a nice feature to the eye of students as they visit the building.

Jessica Kanipe, Guest Writer

The University of Michigan was erected August 26, 1817 and is located in Ann Arbor, Michigan. U of M is highly known for their creative architecture and is always busy expanding their campus and renovating their well-known buildings.

In July of 2018, U of M began an 85.2 million dollar renovation of one of their most beloved buildings on campus, the Michigan Union building. The Michigan Union originally opened its doors in 1919, and is used as one of the three student union buildings on campus. It is home to the student government, offers many study and meeting areas for students and student organizations, has six eateries, and offers various student services. Although it is a great building, it was minorly outdated and needed some new ideas. 

The University of Michigan hired Walbridge, a Detroit-based construction company that was founded in 1916 and has worked on numerous renovations and expansions on the U of M campus in the past. The goals of the Walbridge team were to upgrade mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems throughout the building as well as create a new modernized floor plan and an enclosed outdoor courtyard allowing it to be used year-round. This would replace the old outdated features of the building and give it a nice face-lift.

Senior Project Engineer Majd Hommoudeh is part of the Walbridge team and has been working on these renovations alongside his fellow coworkers.

“A typical workday involves gathering, interpreting, and sharing information with the appropriate team members,” said Hommoudeh, “in order to assist the team in planning, scheduling and coordinating construction activities, and solving problems that may otherwise obstruct construction progress.”

The Walbridge team turned the building back over to U of M in December of 2019, however they are still there working on vendor build outs, which are business spaces being rented from the university. Although the renovations are coming to an end, Hammoudeh is still hard at work either behind a computer, in huddles and meetings, or doing important paperwork. 

Hommoudeh is excited for what the Walbridge team has brought to the students and the University of Michigan.

“My favorite part of this particular renovation project, is the historic element of the building,” Hommoudeh continued, “the historic windows that were restored, the wrought iron railing that was recreated, and the historic arches and dentils that were either uncovered or recreated, giving this building a new life, that will allow students and the public to use and enjoy this building, for many years to come!”