Dowagiac, Michigan


58 acres

Completed Date


The new campus gateways and alumni plaza project began with a campus-wide landscape analysis and master plan focused on enhancing the various entrances and central quadrangle. The study included design concepts and budgets that served as a guide to prioritize the development of each component.

  • New plaza space at the center of campus to facilitate student and faculty interaction. Features include seat walls and grass berms, a raised center tier that serves as a performance stage, and an enhanced landscape.
  • Completion of main entrance boulevard and secondary entrance into campus with monumental signage walls. The design included the integration of existing sculpture and trees, along with banner design and lighting.
new campus gateways
New Campus Gateways

Arkos Design worked closely with the Southwestern Michigan College administration to develop new campus gateways that provide an understated elegance and refined appearance as the first impression of the college.  Masonry signage walls flank the new entry boulevard, inviting visitors onto campus.  An existing sculpture was integrated into the design with a new plaza around it to add context. 

For symmetry and balance, a plaza with flags and colorful banners anchors the other side and adds a sense of vibrancy.  Flush curbs on the outside of the boulevard create a crisp edge while maintaining existing sheet drainage off the road.  New lighting and trees enhance the boulevard and colorful, hardy plantings provide an attractive landscape throughout the year.  Arkos Design was also commissioned to develop banner designs for the new campus gateways.

The concept of a dynamic center that ripples outward is accentuated through the use of materials and grade changes at the plaza.  Solid color pavers set in a radial pattern are accented by multi-colored bands of narrow pavers and limestone bands.  The raised central plaza acts as a performance stage, while the perimeter walls and grass berms provide seating.  The ‘ripples’ expand further through the quad with trees and landscape beds set in radial bands.  Fifteen-foot tall banners in vibrant colors attract the eye from a distance, enhance the pedestrian scale within the plaza, and will serve to bracket the future clock tower.  Donor opportunities are integrated throughout, including the pavers, limestone bands, and tree plaques.

Other Southwestern Michigan College Projects:

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