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From department store to campus: GRCC celebrates new Lakeshore Campus

Aug. 19, 2021, HOLLAND TOWNSHIP, Mich. – Grand Rapids Community College and Ottawa County leaders are celebrating the opening of the new Lakeshore Campus and the transformation of a shuttered department store into a vibrant learning hub for students of all ages.

Starting with a ceremonial ribbon-cutting on Thursday, GRCC plans three days of events intended to introduce the community to the opportunities created by the new campus, located in the former JCPenney in The Shops at Westshore mall.

“The GRCC Lakeshore Campus reflects a vision of a community college education being accessible to everyone,” President Bill Pink said. “As we walk through this magnificent facility, you will be surprised that it was once a department store. But you will be amazed at how this revitalized space will help people change their lives and make this entire community stronger. We are taking higher education on the Lakeshore to a new level.”

GRCC has offered classes on the Lakeshore, spread out in four locations, for more than 20 years. The new Lakeshore Campus consolidates resources and programs in the heart of Holland Township with access to public transportation, employers and services.

The 52,000-square-foot facility has nine classrooms, four computer labs and five unique labs for biology, chemistry, electronics, automation, welding and machine tooling, housing programs for students working toward an associate degree or a career-focused certificate.

The $12 million project also has spaces for advising and counseling and other student support services and a satellite library, as well as areas for use by community groups.

GMB Architecture + Engineering designed the project, and construction was directed by The Christman Co. The building will be LEED certified, part of GRCC’s sustainability goals. 

Donors to the project include the Brooks family, the Community Foundation for the Holland/Zeeland Area, Gentex Corp., GMB Architecture + Engineering, Haworth, Herman Miller, Hudsonville Ice Cream and the Patrick A. Thompson and Family.

“The generous support for this project reflects Lakeshore residents recognizing the value of a community college and GRCC’s ability to help students of all ages fulfill their dreams,” said Dr. Kathryn K. Mullins, GRCC’s vice president of Advancement and executive director of the GRCC Foundation. “We embrace this community partnership, and know it will grow even stronger in the years to come.”

Current class offerings can lead to an Associate of Arts, Associate of General Studies, and Associate of Applied Arts and Sciences-Industrial Maintenance Technology, as well as certificates in Industrial Maintenance, Industrial Technology, Tooling and Manufacturing, and Welding.

Workforce Training programs include Welding Bootcamp, Certified Production Technician, Pharmacy Technician and other offerings.

Continuing education and professional development will be available for a variety of sectors, as well as customized training and assessments. 

The expanded space will increase GRCC’s partnerships with area employers, and plans call for additional programs, possibly in health care, early childhood education, and teaching.

A community open house is planned for 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 21, with opportunities for residents to come as visitors and leave as students, with experts from the Enrollment, Financial Aid, the Academic Advising, Student Records, Veterans Benefits, Student Life, Honors, TRiO, and the College Success Center all on site to help.

Specialists at the open house also can help with admissions and registration, and help potential students learn if they are eligible for the Michigan Reconnect program or federal Pell grants, which could substantially reduce costs.

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