The College started out as just one, three-roomed building in 1836 and has since expanded to more than 25 buildings today. In fact, the College’s campus has moved around Kalamazoo, having originally started in Bronson Park, before it moved a few blocks west in 1855, where the College built the Upper and Lower Halls. In 1887, the College’s campus began to expand to our current “fair Arcadian hill” with the construction of the Ladies’ Hall.
The Turn of the Century
At the start of the 20th century, with higher enrollment and the start of intercollegiate athletics, the College needed more facilities. In 1902, Bowen Hall was constructed as a classroom building with an auditorium on its top floor. Closer to today’s campus, the College also began constructing athletic facilities, including Tredway Gymnasium, tennis courts and an athletic field.
The Campus Quad
In the 1920s a campus plan was developed with new College buildings around what is now the quad: homes for the College president (1925) and faculty (1927-30), Trowbridge (1926) and Hoben residential halls (1936), Welles [dining] Hall (1940), and the library, Mandelle Hall (1930). All this construction was centered around Stetson Chapel (1932), which served as the heart of the College. Many of these projects were designed by architect Aymar Embury in a brick, colonial style that remains the dominant building style on our campus.
From the 1940s through the 80s, the College rapidly grew with numerous construction projects, starting with expanding our athletic facilities: Angell Field (1946), Stowe Stadium (1946), Woodworth Field (1956), and Calder Fieldhouse (1958) and, later, Anderson Athletic Center (1980) and the Markin Racquet Center (1988).
To house the influx of students, the College also constructed four new dormitories—Harmon Hall (1948), DeWaters (1964), Severn (1965), and Crissey (1967)—as well as several academic and administrative buildings: the Light Fine Arts building (1964), Upjohn Library (1967), Dewing Hall (1969), Hicks Student Center (1970) and the Dow Science Center (1992). Aymar Embury’s son, Edward, was the architect for several of these buildings.
More recently, the College has renovated and expanded its athletic facilities, constructing the Athletic Complex (2012), the Fitness and Wellness Center (2016) and the Natatorium (2021). The College also built the architectural-award-winning Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership (2014), designed by Studio Gang.
The College prioritizes environmental sustainability in our new constructions. The Hicks Student Center, Arcus Center and the Natatorium all have various levels of LEED certification, with the Natatorium being named as the 2022 Innovative Project of the Year by the West Michigan Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council.
Looking to the future, the College is once again expanding our campus, with plans to build multiple new residential halls. Learn more by reading our campus master plan.