Engineering and Planning provides the expertise and resources necessary to meet the planning, architectural/engineering design, and construction administration needs of the University's physical assets to sustain a functional, safe, and attractive teaching, learning, and working environment.

Engineering and Planning is responsible for:

  • Facility Design
  • Construction Management
  • Space Inventory
  • CAD/GIS Services
  • Construction Renovation Estimating
  • Utility Mapping
  • University Signage
  • Campus Master Plan

Request Process for Facilities Projects


Northern Center exterior

Design/Construction Projects

The Engineering and Planning office is responsible for the oversight of Northern Michigan University’s use of space, whether that is creating new space, renovating current space or assisting in changing how space is currently used.  As such, the office oversees all university design and construction projects.  This includes meeting with the NMU staff and departments who are impacted by the space to come up with an initial plan, developing or working with an outside source to conceptualize the plan and develop schematics, and then working with the various construction agencies to implement the action plan.

Many of NMU’s facilities are state buildings with funding coming from the State of Michigan. These buildings include those used for academic purposes or that support the university’s academic endeavor.  There is an extensive process that takes place before a facility receives state funding.  Other buildings, such as residence halls and the University Center, are considered auxiliary buildings, meaning they are funded by those who use their services. The plans for auxiliary buildings are also subject to state review, although they are not funded by the state.

Architectural and construction-related companies who wish to be a part of NMU’s bid process, should contact the Purchasing office by mailing information to Purchasing, Northern Michigan University, 1401 Presque Isle Avenue, Marquette, MI  49855 or calling 906-227-2360.

Design Projects

NMU is continually evaluating the physical needs of the campus. Through this review process, current facilities are chosen for maintenance or renovation while new facilities are considered for construction. Renovating old buildings and constructing new facilities is an involved process that requires the university to take several steps. Some of these steps include finding appropriate funding, developing a design plan and project timeline, selecting industry partners to work on the project and, finally, working on the building. These pages outline some of the projects that NMU currently has in the design phase

Northern Michigan University is designing a major renovation to Harden Hall to improve access to traditional library services, create a learning commons that supports student success and retention, engage students in cutting-edge technology, provide a welcoming space that enhances individual (i.e., quiet) and collaborative learning, highlight student art, improve community access, create new classroom and teaching spaces as well as provide new academic department space to relocate the Political Science, Economics, History and Philosophy departments from Gries Hall to the academic core of campus.

NMU Project Manager:  Jim Thams

Consultants: Neumann Smith Architecture, AKA Architecture, OPN Architects and Peter Basso Associates, Inc.

Project Budget:  $32.7 Million

Construction Manager: Rockford Construction

Project Schedule:  Expected to bid Fall 2023. Completion – August 2025.

      Harden Hall Renovations 

Northern Michigan University is planning a 30,000 facility for a new Northern Enterprise Center (College of Business) that will enable NMU to expand opportunities, increase economic growth and, most importantly, significantly enhance the learning and growth opportunities for our students – the future business leaders for our region and State of Michigan.
The new center will be centrally located within the academic mall and the synergy created between the College of Business, the STEM and Liberal Arts programs because of its location and environment will foster economic development promoting collaboration between students and faculty, local entrepreneurs, investors, business opportunities and job growth for the U.P. 

New classrooms and laboratories will provide vibrant, modern high-tech teaching and learning spaces utilizing the university’s expertise in collaborative learning design and incorporating technology into instruction. This project will include: 

  • Department Offices
  • New Classrooms  – High Flex and Hi-Tech spaces
  • New Laboratories
  • High-Tech conference spaces for engaging business partners, community leaders, and economic development organizations
  • Informal Learning spaces for students
  • Collaboration Rooms (Flexible spaces for face-to-face between students or student/faculty/business collaboration)
  • Pre-function and presentation space for events, seminars, and guest speakers
  • A physical link between the new facility in the Academic Mall 

NMU Project Manager:  Jim Thams

Consultants: TBD

Project Budget:  $19.1 million-Dependant on State of Michigan funding

Construction Manager: TBD

Project Schedule:  TBD


Northern Michigan University seeks to convert the PEIF Vandament Arena to
incorporate basketball and volleyball. The Vandament Arena currently is designed to
serve only as a volleyball arena. NMU would like to modify the arena to host both GLIAC
basketball and volleyball games creating a more intimate venue with approximately
1,400 seats in a bowl-like setting. This conversion would enable the teams to practice
where they play their games.

NMU Project Manager:  Brandon Sager

Engineering Consultants: TMP Architecture, Peter Basso Associates, Inc.

Project Budget:  $2.5 million

Contractor: General Construction Bid

Project Schedule:  Expected to bid June 2023. Completion – August 2024.

Vandament Basketball
Basketball Arena

Vandament Volleyball
Volleyball Arena























Northern Michigan University has seen exponential growth in both the Chemistry and Biology programs since their existing facilities opened in 2000. Because of the growth in the two programs, demand for instructional laboratories has increased and the utilization of these spaces has been maximized. The intent of this project is to design and construct a three story, 17,000 square foot addition with 6 new laboratories and offices for the Biology and Chemistry departments. 

NMU Project Manager:  Jim Thams

Consultants: Neumann Smith Architecture and Peter Basso Associates, Inc.

Project Budget:  $11.7 Million

Construction Manager: Miron Construction

Project Schedule:  Expected to bid winter 2023/2024. Completion – August 2025.

Construction Projects

NMU regularly reviews the physical needs of campus facilities. This process allows the university to determine which facilities are chosen for maintenance or renovation and what new facilities need to be constructed. Renovating old buildings and constructing new facilities is an involved process that requires the university to take several steps. Some of these steps include finding appropriate funding, developing a design plan and project timeline, selecting industry partners to work on the project and, finally, working on the building. These pages outline some of the construction projects at NMU.

Existing ice making equipment in the Berry Event Center was 10 years old when purchased in 1999 and has reached the end of its useful life. Its required R22 refrigerant is no longer produced. As such, the existing ice making system (equipment and under slab tubing) in Berry Event Center is being replaced to ensure system reliability. As part of the project, the width of the rink is also being reduced from 100 to 94 feet providing additional space in front of the bottom row of seating. Several mechanical ventilation and dehumidification units are being replaced as well.

NMU Project Manager: Kathy Richards

Engineering Consultants: B32 Engineering Group and Peter Basso Associates, Inc.

Contractor: Serv-Ice Refrigeration, Inc. and Cross General Contracting, Inc.

Project Budget: $6.5 million

Project Completion: September 2023


Berry Event Center Infrastructure Upgrades #1
Demolition-Removal of Rink Slab





Berry Event Center Infrastructure Upgrades #2


Berry Event Center Rink Concrete Pour

Through this state funded project Northern Michigan University (NMU) is renovating approximately 113,000 square feet of lab, classroom and public space into a vibrant, modern high-tech teaching facility for future engineers and technical career professionals. This renovated facility will not only provide degree seeking students the academic training needed to be successful in industrial, engineering and service related careers, but also the space and equipment required to keep the skill set of those working in these fields up-to-date on current technologies. Renovation of this facility began in May 2022 and has just entered it's second phase of renovation. The project will be complete August of 2023

NMU Project Manager:  Jim Thams

Consultants: Neumann Smith Architecture and Peter Basso Associates, Inc.


Project Budget:  $28.6 Million


Construction Manager: Miron Construction

Project Schedule:  Construction began May 2022 and will be complete August 2023.

Career Engineering Technology Facility


Located near Housing and Residence Life and Northern Lights Dining, the new WellBeing Center will provide a central location for both physical and mental health services for students, faculty, staff and retirees. The 13,000 square feet facility will incorporate office, consultation, group therapy, exam, treatment and lab space including a pharmacy with drive thru access.

NMU Project Manager: Steve LaBar

Engineering Consultants: Neumann Smith Architecture and Peter Basso & Associates

Contractor: Miron Construction

Project Budget: $7.7 million

Project Completion: June 2023

Recently Completed Projects

The Behavior Education Assessment and Research (BEAR) Center outgrew its current space on campus and was in need of additional space. An existing two story building currently owned by NMU was selected and completely renovated to accommodate new treatment, observation, workroom and classroom functions. New electrical, mechanical and plumbing systems were included in the renovation.

NMU Project Manager: Steve LaBar

Engineering Consultants: Northern Design Works, Rhoades Engineering Corp.

Contractor: Premeau Construction Inc.

Project Budget: $2.0 million

Project Completion: February 2023

Office Space Utilization

Category Minimum/Maximum Recommended
A. Student 30-40 36
B. Clerical/Technical 45-60 48
C. Administrative/ Professional (A1-A3),     Senior Administrative-Admin. Assistants, Graduate Assistants 65-85 76
D. Administrative/ Professional (A4-A10), Faculty (All Classifications), Senior Administration, Assistant Coaches 100-150 120
E. Senior Administration- Director, Senior Management/ Deans, Academic Department Heads/ Coaches 160-220 200
F. Vice Presidents 225-275 250
G. President As needed  

NOTE: The above Space Utilization Standards are to be used as guidelines by the Engineering and Planning Office when designing new or renovated space. The square footages listed above are for office and workstation spaces only. They do not include circulation, storage areas, reception areas, etc. Deviations from the above may be required, based on design requirements. Categories A thru C normally are designed in an open landscape configuration. Departments requesting office square footages exceeding the maximum, must have the appropriate Vice President and President’s approval. The Engineering and Planning Office will consult with using departments in the design process, to encourage flexible and innovative space arrangements to minimize space usage. Such items as sharing conference rooms, reception areas, and storage rooms will be considered. Typical workstation designs by category, are provided as a guide to be used in the design process.

View the mock-ups in the image carousel below. 

Change in Use Request

It is the policy of Northern Michigan University that any department wanting to make a change to the department's use of facilities including moves, renovation of existing facilities or installation/modification of equipment which requires a change to building systems must submit a Change-in-Use request with division head signature to Engineering and Planning for approval.


A university department that plans to make a change in the department's use of physical plant facilities (this includes room changes, renovating existing facilities or the installation/modification of equipment which requires changes to building systems) the department must:

1. Submit a "Change-in-Use" form (located here) to The Engineering and Planning Department. This requires the requesting department's division head approval.

2. Engineering and Planning Reviews the "Change-in-Use" form and:

Identifies Building Modifications
Updates Facilities Database
Informs Master Plan Committee of any changes in use of facility to ensure compliance with the Master Plan

3. If plan does not require any building modifications, and is consistent with the University Master Plan and applicable codes, Engineering and Planning will notify the department to proceed and the following steps do not apply.

4. If required, Engineering and Planning will develop a cost estimate for building modifications.

5. Requesting department identifies funding source.

6. Engineering and Planning develops specifications and plans and coordinates all necessary code reviews.

7. Project turned over to Plant Operations for completion or to Business Services for contractor bids.

Master Plan

Master Plan - Charge:

The Campus Master Plan Committee will advise university administration on the implementation and updating of the Campus Master Plan. The committee will review proposals for the development or renovation of campus buildings and land to ensure that the proposals are consistent with the University's Campus Master Plan.

Committee Membership:

  1. Three faculty members appointed by the President based on recommendation of AAUP and NMUFA.
  2. One student representative appointed by the president based on recommendation of ASNMU.
  3. Three representatives appointed by the Vice President for Academic Affairs
  4. Two representatives appointed by the Vice President for Finance and Administration
  5. The Registrar, or an assigned representative.
  6. The Director of Public Safety and Police Services, or an assigned representative.
  7. The Director of Housing and Residence Life, or an assigned representative.

Committee Operations:

The Vice President for Finance and Administration will select the committee chair from members of the committee, and will serve for a three year term.

The chair will schedule meetings as needed.

Recommendations for new buildings, the renovation of existing buildings, the intended use of buildings and the use of campus lands will be reviewed by the committee to ensure they are consistent with the University Campus Master Plan. All recommendations will be forwarded to the committee for review after the Office of Engineering and Planning has first reviewed them. The chair will submit the committee's findings and recommendation to the Vice President for Finance and Administration.

Northern Michigan University, by providing quality academic programs, strong student support and extensive regional service for it stakeholders in the Upper Midwest, challenges its students, faculty, staff and alumni to strive for excellence, both inside and outside the classroom and to become out citizens and leaders.

To accomplish this mission, Northern provides a supportive living and learning environment that includes high-caliber undergraduate and graduate programs, personal attention, extensive use of modern technology and continuous improvement of curriculum and services through systematic assessment. Challenging themselves and their students, Northern faculty and staff are dedicated to effective teaching and intellectual inquiry; to including students as learning partners in their research, scholarship and other professional activities; and to advancing the university’s roles as a service provider and as a cultural and recreational center in the Upper Peninsula. Northern Michigan University students will study ethics, humanitarian values, and cultural awareness in a strong general education program, as well as master specific knowledge in a major career field. As graduates who are life-long learners, they will possess the skills and attitudes to succeed in a fast-paced, constantly evolving, multi-cultural world. As alumni, they will be challenged to continue an NMU tradition, that of distinguishing themselves in their careers and communities.