New Jamrich benefits campus

Northwind Staff

NMU’s mantra “Northern. Naturally.” is used as a student recruitment tool and, as students are quick to point out, a philosophy regarding environmental sustainability on campus.

Some students have voiced dissent over the construction of the new Jamrich building, claiming the most sustainable option would be to use the existing structure, rather than construct a new building completely.

That logic is wholly misguided.

The current Jamrich building was constructed in 1969, a time when teaching pedagogy was geared toward large class-sizes. For this reason, large lecture halls were desirable, hence the five large halls in the current Jamrich building.

Times change. After 44 years, a shift in pedagogy has created a demand for smaller classrooms that seat 30 to 40 students.

Gone are the days when every classroom needed to seat more than 100 students. Smaller class sizes are the norm.

When NMU was deciding whether to renovate Jamrich or build a new facility, there was an exhaustive study done as to what would be more efficient and effective.

The university found that constructing a new building, which will replace the current Jamrich and Gries buildings, would be the best choice.

When Gries and Jamrich are torn down and consolidated into existing buildings and the new Jamrich Hall, there will be 36,000 fewer square feet which the university will have to heat, cool, clean and maintain.

Fewer square feet means fewer materials used and reduction in utilities. Unlike the current Jamrich building, the new one will be Leadership in Energy and Efficient Design (LEED) certified.

The decision to build the new Jamrich Hall was based on three main criteria: change in teaching styles, classroom demand and need for space efficiency.

The choice to develop a new building, one that helps bring Northern into the 21st century, was a natural shift toward a more efficient, effective campus. It is a step forward for the campus community.

There are times to oppose change on campus: this is not one of those times.

Embrace the change, and welcome a new addition to NMU’s campus.