Community celebrates medical school renovation milestone

contact: Jeanne Baron
| WMU News
Photo of WMU Medical School Dean Hal Jenson.

Dr. Hal Jenson speaks at the topping off ceremony.

KALAMAZOO—The Western Michigan University School of Medicine celebrated the official topping off of its 350,000-square-foot medical school building renovation during a public event Wednesday, Oct. 2, at the downtown Kalamazoo site.

The topping off ceremony marks the completion of the addition to the existing 320,000-square-foot building at 300 Portage St.

It is held when the last piece of steel is raised into place, adorned with an evergreen tree for good luck and other symbols important to the building's owner.

Photo of Kalamazoo Mayor Bobby Hopewell.

Kalamazoo Mayor Bobby Hopewell signs a steel beam at the topping off ceremony.

Several of those in attendance, including Kalamazoo Mayor Bobby Hopewell and WMU President John M. Dunn, signed the topping off beam before it was hoisted into place. Dunn and Dr. Hal B. Jenson, founding dean of the school, were among those making remarks during the event.

The medical school's $68 million renovation and addition started a year ago and is scheduled for completion by June 2014. The facility will house an auditorium, lecture halls, a simulation center, classrooms, state-of the-art laboratories, study rooms, offices and conference room space.

For more information about the project and video of the topping off ceremony, visit