Saturday, December 23, 2006

Western Scraps Building Purchase

Western has decided not to purchase a building in downtown Kalamazoo from Pfizer. From the Gazette:

Western Michigan University Foundation has nixed plans to buy Pfizer Inc.'s vacated laboratory building in downtown Kalamazoo, one year after the agreement was announced.

Pfizer's 160,000-square-foot Building 126 was set to become the WMU Downtown Science Center, home mostly to private-sector scientific companies and a portion to WMU researchers.

But, in an announcement Thursday, the university said it doesn't have the money to meet the facility's annual operating cost of $1.5 million to $2 million.
The deal drew criticism from the faculty. In this case, they were correct.

President Haenicke explained the origin of this deal.

"It was a great gesture by the previous administration to try to preserve a building,'' said Diether Haenicke, who has been Western's interim president the past four months.

The deal was announced in December 2005 when Judith I. Bailey was WMU's leader. "At the time the decision was made, we hadn't costed out carefully what the financial burden would be that arises after the building would be purchased,'' Haenicke said.
Haenicke is a gentleman, and it wouldn't be very diplomatic of him to criticize his predecessor. You can read between the lines to see what he really thought of the deal.

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