By Kory Goldsmith
Grand Rapids Community College is transforming the learning experience for students and teaching experience for faculty.
GRCC announced on Nov. 2 that multiple projects will be underway over the next two years in multiple buildings on the main campus, Wisner-Bottrall Applied Technology Center, Lakeshore Campus, Steven C. Ender Hall, and the Custer Alumni House.
These construction projects totalling roughly $47 million were made possible thanks to GRCC funding and funding from college donors through the GRCC Foundation. Funding also came from state government support.
“Many of the people donating to support these projects are alumni who know firsthand how a GRCC education can change lives,” Kathryn K. Mullins, vice president of College Advancement and executive director of the GRCC Foundation stated in a prepared statement. “Others see the impact a strong community college has had on West Michigan. We deeply appreciate their investment in our students, and know these improvements will help them for years to come.”
$12.7 million is going towards construction of the Applied Technology Center. The building will gain two stories, 18,416-square-foot expansion. Extensive renovations on existing labs and spaces will also undergo renovations.The construction is expected to be finished in December of this year and ready for the 2021 winter semester.
The project includes improvements to existing classrooms and labs, an inviting front entrance and data center lab suite. Improvements will also include expanding and updates to the machine tool lab, increased student study and meeting spaces and small project rooms for students to work together. There will also be added interaction areas where faculty, students, and researchers can gather informally and a renovated open computer lab.
GRCC’s historic Raleigh J. Finkelstein Hall will be renovated over the next two years. The $15 million project will transform the nearly 100-year-old building into a 21st century learning center.
The fifth-floor work was finished this summer and includes classrooms, a large student collaboration area, and minor upgrades to the board room.
The fourth floor studio and lab space for Visual Arts classes will see renovations, improved classrooms and administrative offices, and a large student collaboration area.
Third-floor construction planned for the 2021 winter semester will include a faculty hub, offices, and classrooms. The Center for Teaching Excellence and offices for Distance Learning, Instructional Technologies, deans, and The Collegiate office will also be renovated.
Second-floor classrooms will be updated and the updates are planned to begin in the summer 2021.
Summer 2021 is when first-floor construction will begin. The work will reimagine the student experience, the enrollment Center, the cashiers’ office, and financial aid space.
If the project continues proceeding under budget, improvements will be made to level G2, a new canopy will be added over the stair tower between Finkelstein and Cook halls, and work will be done on the fourth-floor skywalk to the Bostwick parking ramp.
The Steven C. Ender Hall, formerly known as the Mable Engle House on the DeVos Campus renovations will total $3.4 million. The hall will be used for Experiential Learning and the Honors Program, Student Employment Services, space for Student Life clubs and organizations, and other student-focused groups.
The Custer Alumni House, formerly the Lettinga House will see $1.8 million. The renovations will include a kitchen, meeting space and area for receptions and other gatherings to create a welcoming place for former students and community members.
The Lakeshore Campus on the former JCPenney site in Holland Township, will consolidate GRCC’s lakeshore offerings in one place for the first time. The project is expected to be completed in time for the 2021 fall semester. GRCC and the GRCC Foundation are working with Lakeshore donors to support the project.
The 50,00-square-foot-building is being renovated to include classrooms and labs for Workforce Development and Arts and Sciences. Testing, counseling, placement, and a satellite library.
“We are incredibly fortunate to be part of a community that invests in GRCC,” Mullins stated.