Student Activities Building


Student Activities Building



Planning began in 1954 for the Student Activities Building at 515 East Jefferson Street. In January of 1955 the project was approved. Swanson and Associates were architects, and in November a construction contract was awarded to George W. Lathrop and Sons of Detroit. The project budget was set at $1,750,000 to be financed from borrowings secured by future student fee allocations and University sources.

The building was completed in 1957. This was one of a few American college structures designed primarily to house student organizations, activities, and services. It housed student organizations on three floors, plus a onestory workshop area at the rear.

A Class of 1957 Memorial gift provided for a Memorial Court dedicated to Hank Borda, an active Student Government Council Member of the Class who died of leukemia prior to graduation.

Original first floor occupants were the major student activities of the Student Government Council, Panhellenic and Interfraternity Councils, Interhouse Council and Assembly Association, Building Administration Committee, and the offices of the Dean of Women.

The second floor provided spaces for the Glee Club, Wolverine Club, International Student Association, Alpha Phi Omega, and similar student activities, plus offices of the Dean of Men.

On the third floor, in addition to large meeting rooms, were Joint Judiciary Headquarters and projection rooms.

Basement spaces housed the Student Book Exchange, Art Print Loan Collection, student files, and a mimeograph room.

The building had been assigned a site on Jefferson Street which allowed for expansion, and three years after its completion that expansion was begun. Swanson and Associates were appointed as architects in 1959 to plan an addition. A. Z. Shmina and Sons were awarded the construction contract in July of 1960 and it was completed in June of 1961, also financed from student fee allocations.

The addition provided spaces for the Office of Admissions, the Student Employment Office, the Office of Veteran Affairs, the Cashierʼs Office, the Bureau of Appointments and Occupational Information, and an office for the Coordinator of Student Religious Affairs.

A 1968 Union Study by Consultant Douglas Osterheld of the University of Wisconsin recommended a transfer of all student services from offices in the Student Activities Building to the Michigan Union. In 1970 and 1972 the Regents approved a two-phase program moving toward a centralized student center in the Michigan Union and establishing the Student Activities Building as primarily an office building.

(The University of Michigan: An Encyclopedic Survey, Vice President & Chief Financial Officer's Report, p. 57)