At a recent legislative luncheon, Grand Rapids Community College administrators lobbied state lawmakers for $4.25 million dollars for urgent upgrades needed to restore the Ford Fieldhouse’s classroom space for students.
“We have done renovations and upgrades to many of our facilities including the Main Building, Cook Academic Hall, and as well as the Music Building,” said Vice President of Finance and Administration Lisa Freiburger. “The Fieldhouse is our next biggest priority that needs to be done.”
The Fieldhouse was built in 1976 and has a couple issues that will be fixed with appropriate funding.
An outdated fire alarm system could lead to further danger in case the system fails to notify people inside of a fire. There have also been issues of air conditioning failures causing an unbearable rise in heat in the summer months, resulting in classes and activities in the Ford Fieldhouse to be cancelled or no longer held.
The representatives from GRCC stressed to lawmakers that the Ford Fieldhouse is an academic space more than anything else, and that is where the funds would be used. GRCC officials stated that they would not be able to afford the renovations without state assistance. Governor Rick Snyder’s plan did include funds for some universities and community colleges while GRCC was left out.
“The locker rooms as well as classroom space need a full renovation,” Freiburger said. “We could use upgrades to the HVAC and fire suppression systems. The arena is just fine so the arena and natatorium will go untouched.”
The Fieldhouse renovation would total $8.5 million, with half of the budget being provided by the college, and the other half by the State of Michigan. This will play a part in transforming the Fieldhouse’s more neglected areas into functional classroom space for the students in those areas of study.
“I believe we have done our job with little support from the state so we will continue to push the state for assistance,” Freiburger said.
*Editor’s Note: This story had errors in its print version and has been corrected updated for the web.