By Kellie Book
Grand Rapids Community College President Bill Pink met with the members of Student Alliance on Feb. 6 to discuss upcoming changes for the campus. Notable among those changes were the renovations planned for GRCC’s three parking ramps and several floors of Raleigh J. Finkelstein Hall.
The renovation process for RJF Hall will be “a long game rather than a short game,” Pink said.
“One of the main things we will be doing is not just classroom space, but we will also be creating what I call student landing spaces,” Pink said.
The goal of these student landing spaces will be to give students areas on each floor where they can sit comfortably while they work or relax between classes. President Pink saw this idea as a great alternative for students who typically wind up laying along the wall because there is currently no open seating in the vicinity.
On the main floor, renovations will create a one-stop shop for student services. The offices for enrollment, admission, financial aid, and other student services will be centralized on that one floor, rather than spread between two buildings. The vacated spaces in the current student services building could be used as flex spaces for displaced classes.
GRCC students won’t be seeing any changes for quite some time, though, due to focus on the Applied Technology Center renovations that are currently underway.
“That addition to the ATC is very focused on some of the work we do in manufacturing, welding, and computer information systems,” Pink said.
When the ATC expansion is complete, the building will have new lab and classroom spaces for those departments. This work is projected to be completed in the beginning of 2021.
Remodels on the parking garages will be focused on improving signage and way-finding for students, faculty, and visitors. Members of Student Alliance discussed larger, more prolific signs and color coding of the floors with President Pink at Thursday’s meeting. They expressed enthusiasm for the idea of making it easier for people to navigate to a specific garage and then see which floor they park on. One member of the Student Alliance expressed concern about the school potentially hiking up the fee for parking.
There is “no plan right now to increase parking,” Pink responded.
Another notable topic discussed in the meeting is the official closing of the deal for GRCC’s new lakeshore campus. The campus will be located in a space in the Shops at Westshore that previously held a JC Penney’s, as discussed in one of The Collegiate’s previous articles.
“Just this week we closed—finally—on our new property out in Holland… and already now are into the phase of architecture and design of what the GRCC lakeshore campus would look like,” Pink said.
President Pink said that the lakeshore project is still on track to be completed in the fall of 2021.
To wrap up the meeting, Student Alliance discussed the new student organizations and various events the organization leaders have planned for the near future. There are five new student organizations: Mi casa (a Spanish club), Secchia Culinary Student Community, SACNAS (Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/ Hispanics and Native Americans in Science), Gardening club, and Dental Assistants. For a complete list of GRCC’s student organizations, go here.