Concordia Gym Expansion Moves to Council

A site plan to expand the existing Concordia University gym was recommended for approval by the Ann Arbor planning commission at its March 4, 2014 meeting. The plan also includes reconfiguring nearby parking lots and stormwater management features on the 187-acre site at 4090 Geddes Road, just west of US-23 and north of the Huron River.

Concordia University, Ann Arbor planning commission, The Ann Arbor Chronicle

Aerial view of Concordia University campus, south of Geddes Road and west of US-23.

In a separate vote, planning commissioners granted a special exception use for the project. That’s required because the private university is located on a site zoned R1B (single-family residential district).

The site plan requires city council approval, but the special exception use does not.

The proposal call for a three-story, 34,391-square-foot addition to the current 22,021-square-foot gym that’s located on the west side of Concordia’s main campus. [.pdf of campus map] The addition will include men’s and women’s locker rooms, athletic office space, classrooms and an auxiliary gym. A second phase of the project entails constructing a single-story, 5,280-square-foot athletic training room.

The site plan is for a planned project, which allows variations in height and placement. The proposed addition would be 39 feet high – eight feet higher than the site’s zoning limit of 30 feet. The existing gym is about 33 feet high, measured at the midpoint of the roof.

Concordia is located in Ward 2. A letter from the university stated that a citizens participation meeting for the project was held on Dec. 10, 2013. The only resident who attended was Ward 2 councilmember Jane Lumm, who had no concerns about the project, according to the letter.

At the March 4 planning commission meeting, Curt Gielow – Concordia University Ann Arbor’s campus chief executive – spoke to commissioners during the project’s public hearing. He noted that the university had been struggling and was near bankruptcy before being absorbed by Concordia University Wisconsin last year. There are about 700 students now, but that enrollment needs to double in order for the university to be financially sustainable, Gielow said. So plans are in place to invest between $10 million to $20 million in the coming years on a variety of improvements.

This brief was filed from the second floor council chambers at city hall, 301 E. Huron. A more detailed report will follow: [link]