The Wills House, a 20th century building once home to Michigan State University’s meteorology department, recently underwent interior and exterior renovations that will allow the university to continue using this historic space for years to come.
The newly renovated space will accommodate large teams and task forces charged with planning university projects and writing large proposals, such as the group that worked on the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams proposal. Improvements included installing a barrier-free entrance and restroom, new flooring and paint, and updating a kitchenette with new appliances.
“Wills House has seen many groups walk through its doors over the past 90 years but it has been underutilized and recently vacant,” MSU Interim President John Engler said. “These safety and compliance updates have provided us a wonderful meeting space that will allow large groups to collaborate together while saving the university money since we won’t have to rent space off campus for these types of projects.”
In addition to the large meeting space on the first floor, the building also includes small offices on the second floor that will house MSU faculty who are retired, volunteer or continue to provide service to and be engaged with the university. Currently, retirees have offices in a variety of locations around campus wherever space is available.
Built in 1927 for the U.S. Weather Bureau, the house was donated to the university in the 1940s and named after H. Merrill Wills, the U.S. Weather Bureau meteorologist who lived there. It has housed many departments and groups over the years, including meteorology, personnel offices, MSU Extension, technology services and more.
Planning for these renovations began in 2015 as part of a broader set of university-wide organizational and space consolidations. Renovations began in November 2017 and were completed in March. Total project cost was $977,301.