The Rackham Building in Detroit's Cultural Center is one of those places that many people look at and wonder, 'What's going on with that building?' Now we have a better answer. The University of Michigan Board of Regents approved a $40 million renovation plan for the building, with plans to house many UM initiatives in the city.
The plan is to consolidate programs that are currently leased around Detroit, including the Detroit Center and an office for undergraduate admissions, programs within the A. Alfred Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, College of Engineering, LSA, and the School for Environment and Sustainability. Plans also include classrooms, multipurpose rooms, and maker spaces for 500 students.
The university took full ownership of the building in 2018, after jointly owning it with the Engineering Society of Detroit throughout its history. These will be the first major infrastructure updates in the building's history. Work will include replacing the roof, installing energy-efficient lighting, adding insulation and interior storm windows, upgrading the mechanical infrastructure, and restoring masonry on the exterior.
The Rackham Building is part of an overall Cultural Center Planning Initiative, which will eventually create more connections between cultural institutions in Midtown.
The university has been building a bigger presence within the city in recent years. Stephen Ross still has plans for a Detroit Center for Innovation, but the location has shifted this year.