As the fall semester begins, Warriors may notice orange barrels and construction fences as part of efforts to expand and improve campus and enhance the city’s roads and bridges.
For starters, getting to and around campus may require some detours due to several ongoing road construction projects. If approaching campus from the north, both the Second Avenue and Cass Avenue bridges over I-94 remain closed.
The Second Avenue bridge, the state's first "network tied arch structure," was constructed over the last couple of years on Wayne State’s campus near Anthony Wayne Drive and Palmer Avenue. The 5-million-pound structure was then moved into place over I-94 at the end of July. It is expected to reopen to vehicular traffic by December.
The Cass Avenue bridge over I-94 is closed to traffic after an inspection revealed the need for repairs. Traffic from Cass Avenue between Antoinette Street and Palmer Avenue will divert to Woodward Avenue for the foreseeable future. Tony V’s Tavern and Carhartt remain open.
Campus is also being improved.
State Hall, built in 1948, was Wayne State’s first building dedicated to classroom space. Its 163,000 square feet and 75 classrooms are currently undergoing a comprehensive, $80 million renovation. When it reopens in fall 2023, students and faculty will notice technological advancements, accessibility improvements, new furniture and added lounge spaces.
“We are really excited to bring State Hall up to today’s standards,” said Rob Davenport, associate vice president for Facilities Planning and Management. “We appreciate everyone’s patience during this construction, especially navigating in and out of the Chemistry Building and around State Hall. Almost every undergraduate student will have a class in State Hall during their time here, so it will be worth it.”
Next door to State Hall, the Prentis Building is undergoing some necessary waterproofing of its basement classrooms.
Construction on the Hilberry Gateway performance complex is further along. Work on a 71,000-square-foot addition that includes a new 400-seat theatre, a 150-seat performance lab, back of house production facilities, and a combined lobby and box office will be completed in early 2023.
The 2022-23 Hilberry Theatre season will be one of transition, with the formal closing of the current Hilberry Theatre on Nov. 20 with a performance of Merry Wives of Windsor and a celebration of the Hilberry Gateway on Feb. 4, 2023.
The first theatre production in the new facility will be Marcus; or The Secret of Sweet on Feb. 24. The 94th Annual Spring Dance Concert is slated for April 23.
Once the current Hilberry Theatre is closed, work will begin on renovating it into the 380-seat Gretchen Valade Jazz Center.