Wayne State hopes for Spring '24 completion for restoration of Yamasaki-designed reflection pool

What’s happening: Wayne State University has announced a new goal for completing its restoration of the long-empty reflection pool at the Helen L. DeRoy Auditorium on campus, with plans to begin renovations this month and hopes for it to be completed come spring 2024. The restoration project was first announced in January earlier this year and had initially hoped to be completed by the end of July 2023.

What it is: The Helen L. DeRoy Auditorium is one of four buildings designed by legendary architect Minoru Yamasaki on the Wayne State University campus, with the College of Education Building, McGregor Memorial Conference Center, and Prentis Building being the others. Yamasaki is most famous for designing the World Trade Center in New York City, although he spent the bulk of his career in Michigan and many of his buildings can be found throughout Detroit and its suburbs.

What’s next: Empty for more than 30 years, the reflection pool at DeRoy Auditorium made headlines earlier this year when Wayne State announced plans to restore the long-dormant architectural feature. The school remains uncertain as to why the pool was drained in the first place, although crews have identified an issue with the air intake system. That system will be relocated, the pool will be restored and refilled, and the surrounding plaza and features, including two bridges and planting beds, will also be renovated. The planned renovations of two lecture halls at DeRoy Auditorium will be completed as part of a separate project.

Why it’s important: "It has not been active for almost 40 years, so how exciting will it be to see it filled with water," says Ekta Kamalia, Wayne State's director of design and construction services. "It'll encourage community engagement, collaboration for faculty and students and showcase our commitment to returning the building and environment to their original design."

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MJ Galbraith is Model D's development news editor. Follow him on Twitter @mikegalbraith.