Background Information

Ferris State University has completed the visioning stage of the planning process and received a final report from the consulting firm of Brailsford & Dunlavey for the major renovation of its current Rankin Student Center into a modern future-oriented University Center. The current facility was originally constructed in 1957, with subsequent additions in 1960 and 1987. The facility is in need of significant renovations to modernize the facility to meet the campus needs for a University Center. The renovation of the Rankin Student Center is identified in the university facilities master plan as a priority.

Significant findings resulting from the visioning effort include:

  • Serve as a recruitment tool for incoming students, should be featured as part of the campus tour and should be an architectural showpiece equal to the FLITE and Optometry buildings that anchors the campus quad.
  • Current Rankin Center location is an appropriate location for the renovated University Center.
  • Serve as a gathering space for students by providing comfortable places to meet, relax, study and socialize.
  • Serve specific needs of commuter students.
  • Foster student leadership by providing student organizations with appropriate space to meet.
  • Foster interaction between faculty/staff,  students and community members.
  • Provide an appropriate mix of food, retail and entertainment options to appeal to all campus constituencies.


The President’s Council carefully considered the findings and recommendations of the visioning task force and subsequently developed a recommended project scope document to assist with defining priorities to balance the scope and budget for the project.

The renovation will include floor plan reconfigurations and potentially some addition of new space; upgrade of building envelope and interior finishes as well as replacement of furniture, fixtures and equipment. In addition, plumbing, electrical and mechanical systems will be upgraded with energy efficient systems that will meet the programmatic requirements and reduce operational and maintenance costs.

The planning for this project will be very complicated both from an architectural and engineering standpoint and from a construction and logistical perspective.   Current occupants will be relocated to other facilities prior to construction. The site will be fenced for safety, which may also require closing East Campus Drive (between Rankin and Carlisle).   Additionally, significant utility infrastructure work will have to be coordinated with the demolition of Masselink and Carlisle Halls.  

The University will concurrently start conducting a transportation study this fall to look at pedestrian and vehicular issues including counts, flows, cross walks, conflicts, roads and parking lot locations, capacities and potentially a shuttle bus system.

Once the project scope for the project and budget has been finalized, the administration will bring a proposal back to its Board of Trustees requesting approval of the final scope, budget and authorization to award contracts for construction.

Last updated: 03-18-2013