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Alma College nears completion of eight million dollar redevelopment project

Alma College

Alma College is repurposing the Wright Opera House in downtown Alma to provide student housing, six retail storefronts and an event room. 

In 2017, the college took ownership of the facility. At the time, the college received a $1.5 million grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation for the project. 



Since then, $6.5 million has been raised through community and private donations.

President of Alma College, Jeff Abernathy said the project has brought together the community and the college.

“We want to partner with the community so Alma, Michigan will thrive and Alma College will thrive alongside,” Abernathy said. 

Apartments will house 39 students. Abernathy said the goal is for businesses to come in to cater to those students and their friends. 

“We have already seen a substantial impact as a result of seeing this project come to its fruition,” Abernathy said. “With students living in the middle of downtown I think the community will have an entirely different feel.”

He said the event room will be used for both community and college events. 

“Primarily, that is a space for the community as it has been since it was built in 1879 and it will be that now,” Abernathy said. 

Abernathy said student apartments will be completed in a few weeks before classes begin on September 3. He said the rest of the project will be completed by October.

Tess DeGayner is a student reporter for WCMU News. She is a senior at Central Michigan University studying Journalism and Broadcasting. Her hometown is Fenton, Michigan.