McKenny Hall

McKenny Hall, previously called McKenny Union and Charles McKenny Union, was the first student union on the campus of a teachers’ college when it opened in 1931.[3] At various times the building has included bookstores, a bowling alley, a bank, and a food court, as well as a ballroom and other social and meeting spaces.[4] Today the building is known as McKenny Hall and is home to human resources and academic advising and career services. After The EMU Student Center opened, McKenny closed in 2006 for renovations to preserve the building’s age. Since then the university uses the historic building as office space for various departments. The building faces Cross Street and the Ypsilanti Water Tower.

United States historic place
McKenny Hall

McKenny Hall
Location Ypsilanti, Michigan
Area Eastern Michigan University campus
Built 1931[1]
Architect Frank Eurich, Jr.
Architectural style Collegiate Gothic
Part of Eastern Michigan University Historic District (PID24948[2])
NRHP reference No. P24948[2]
Added to NRHP 1984

. . . McKenny Hall . . .

McKenny Union during the 2006-2007 remodeling

McKenny Union was first proposed by President Charles McKenny in 1924. Construction began on November 8, 1930, and the building was dedicated on October 24, 1931.[5] Named for Charles McKenny, who served from 1912 to 1933 as president of the school, then known as Michigan State Normal College, McKenny Union was the first student union on the campus of a teachers’ college.[6]

McKenny originally proposed the idea for a student union in 1924 and by 1928, the school had pledges totaling $350,000; however, due to the 1929 stock market crash and the Great Depression, only $130,000 was actually collected by 1930, leading to a change in the design.[6] In 1937, the State of Michigan took control of bond repayment, drawing funds from student fees.[7]

In 1963, an expansion by the architectural firm of Jickling & Lyman of Birmingham[8] began, and the enlarged union, now featuring a bookstore in the basement and a bowling alley, was rededicated on April 30, 1966.[6] From 1992 to early 1993, the union was again renovated, adding a new roof, a first floor bookstore, a loading dock, a passenger elevator, a bank, a food court, and barrier-free access.

In the early 2000s Eastern began to develop the idea to expand the Union due to its limited services in comparison to the universities’ size. Original plans called for the expansion of McKenny but plans were later dropped due to the large cost of renovating the existing building. In November 2006, The EMU Student Center opened on the north end of campus.[9] Upon the opening of the EMU Student Center, McKenny Union was closed for another renovation. Since reopening, McKenny Union is now referred to as McKenny Hall. McKenny Hall now contains career services,[10] human resources, and veteran services[11] offices.

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