MSU Selects Multicultural Center Design Company | MSUToday


After a competitive search, Michigan State University selects Smith Group, one of the nation’s leading integrated design firms, to design a $34 million, 40,000 square foot campus multicultural center. MSU leverages the company’s experience in higher education and cultural facility design to create a space of belonging and significance on campus.

An award-winning international integrated design firm, SmithGroup has an extensive higher education portfolio, including the renovation of the Student Success Center at California State University-Long Beach, the Student Wellness Center at the University of Colorado-Denver and the Opportunity Hub of the University. from Michigan. The company’s portfolio also includes numerous cultural and museum projects, including the National Museum of Slavery at the site of Lumpkin’s slave prison in Richmond, Virginia, and most notably, the National Museum of History and African American Culture and the National Museum of the American Indian, both in Washington, DC.

“SmithGroup has demonstrated the expertise and willingness to intentionally engage our students at every stage of the design process,” said Vennie Gore, senior vice president for student life and engagement.

The decision comes after Hamilton Anderson Associates and Moody Nolan terminated MSU’s Multicultural Center Feasibility Report in March 2021. MSU’s Board of Directors last September approved entry into the planning phase. Following extensive research with the contribution of committee members, Infrastructure and Facilities Planning Project Manager Brian Mullen informed SmithGroup of his selection on January 10.

The Smith Group team will combine the higher education design expertise of the company’s Detroit office, led by Principal Tricia Beck and Project Manager Jennifer Durham, with the cultural design expertise of the Washington, D.C., office of the company, led by design director Monteil Crawley and project designer Julian Arington.

“We are honored to have been selected to design this historically significant space with the MSU community for future generations of Spartans,” Beck said. “Our dedication to diversity, equity and inclusion is reflected in our team, our practices and our commitment to working with local and minority partners.”

SmithGroup has identified partner companies for the project, including SDG Associates LLC, Michigan’s oldest African-American company; InkSpot Design and Cerami Associates, two women-owned businesses; Onyx Enterprise, an African-American woman-owned business and small business in Michigan; and KAS Estimating Services, also a small company.

The goal of the Multicultural Center is to create a place that will encourage students to examine the intersections of identity and unity, to think critically about diversity and social justice, and to use their unique and collective voices to implement positive change. MSU believes such a facility will provide cultural education opportunities for all and increase student retention and success.


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