Cafeteria plans spark controversy at WMU
Updated: Sunday, April 7 2013, 09:25 AM EDT
KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - Plans for a new cafeteria on WMU’s campus are sparking controversy with staff and students.
Building the enormous eatery will destroy 500 trees, according to the campus newspaper.
Eco-friendly groups say the project violates the college’s commitment to "going green."
The Western Herald reports the new dining hall would be nearly 27-thousand square feet and two stories tall, complete with seven restaurants inside.
The main sticking point in this debate is the building's location.
The project team wants to put the new cafeteria right in the middle of the three Valley Residence Halls so all those students have equal access to it.
Building the facility in that particular spot will save the university several million dollars in costs.
Opponents want the team to move the build site 300 feet to the east, to a space that now contains a mostly vacant parking lot.
They believe knocking down trees in one of the university's last remaining forests makes the college seem hypocritical. WMU has become well-known nationwide for its sustainable projects and promises.
The Vice President of Student Affairs hopes to address the concerns over tree removal at the next Board of Trustees meeting on April 18th.
A biology professor at WMU says if it comes down to it, campus environmentalists are ready to stage a demonstration to stop the destruction of the forest. He’s quoted in the campus newspaper as saying, "We'll chain ourselves to the trees if we have to."
NewsChannel 3 will continue to follow this debate and bring you updates as soon as they’re available.