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GRCC construction projects transforming buildings into state-of-the-art spaces for teaching, learning

Nov. 2, 2020, GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.  – Several key Grand Rapids Community College buildings are undergoing a transformation this year and next, with renovations and additions creating state-of-the-art spaces for teaching and learning.

Projects are underway or completed at both downtown campuses, while a new, consolidated Lakeshore Campus is taking shape in Holland Township. Funding for the work comes from the college, the state government and generous support from donors through the GRCC Foundation.

“When we emerge from this pandemic, our students and community will see significant upgrades aimed at providing an even better GRCC experience,” President Bill Pink said. “These investments in our buildings look wonderful. But more importantly, they will help this college be flexible, ready to adapt to the changing needs of our community so we will always be able to provide a quality education, whether students are seeking degrees or career skills.”

The Wisner-Bottrall Applied Technology Center

The Wisner-Bottrall Applied Technology Center is gaining a two-story, 18,416-square-foot expansion in addition to extensive renovations. The work will allow GRCC to leverage existing labs and spaces and expand programs.  The project is expected to be completed in December and be ready for winter 2021 classes.

The $12.7 million project is designed to provide a teaching and learning environment supporting learning and experiential problem-solving while providing greater visibility for workforce training and information technology programs.

The ATC project includes:

  • Improving the flexibility and use of existing classrooms and labs.
  • Creating an open and inviting front entry.
  • Adding a Data Center Lab suite.
  • Expanding and updating the Machine Tool Lab.
  • Increasing student study and meeting spaces.
  • Providing small project rooms where students can work together.
  • Adding interaction areas where faculty, students, and researchers can gather informally.
  • Renovating the open computer lab.

Raleigh J. Finkelstein Hall 

GRCC’s historic Raleigh J. Finkelstein Hall is being renovated over two years, transforming the nearly 100-year-old building into a 21st-century learning center. The $15 million project includes major upgrades to all five floors.

The fifth-floor work was completed this summer and includes classrooms, a large student collaboration area, minor upgrades to the board room – and spectacular views of downtown.

Other work includes:

  • Fourth-floor renovations to update studio and lab space for Visual Arts classes, improved classrooms and administrative offices, and a large student collaboration area.  
  • Third-floor work, planned for the winter 2021 semester, to add a faculty hub, offices, and classrooms. The Center for Teaching Excellence and offices for Distance Learning and Instructional Technologies, deans, and The Collegiate will also be renovated.
  • Second-floor work, planned for summer 2021, to update classrooms.
  • First-floor work, also during summer 2021, to reimagine the student experience, including orientation, admissions, the Enrollment Center, the cashiers’ office and financial aid space.

The project is proceeding under budget, and the reach of the work may extend to include level G2 improvements, a new canopy over the stair tower between Finkelstein and Cook halls, and work to the fourth-floor skywalk to the Bostwick parking ramp.

GRCC Lakeshore Campus

The Lakeshore Campus, on the former JCPenney site in The Shops at West Shore in Holland Township, will consolidate GRCC Lakeshore offerings in one place for the first time. GRCC and the GRCC Foundation are working with Lakeshore donors to support the project, which is expected to be completed in time for the fall 2021 semester.

The 50,000-square-foot building is being renovated to include classrooms and labs for the schools of Workforce Development and Arts and Sciences. It also will include student services such as testing, counseling, placement, and a satellite library.

Steven C. Ender Hall and Custer Alumni House

The college completed renovations to two buildings on the DeVos Campus this summer.

Steven C. Ender Hall, formerly the Mable Engle House, will be used for student-focused groups, including Experiential Learning and the Honors Program, Student Employment Services and space for Student Life clubs and organizations. The college previously used the building for temporary office space.  Renovations cost $3.4 million.

The Custer Alumni House is the new name for the Lettinga House, reflecting its role as the home of the Grand Rapids Community College Foundation and alumni activities. The $1.8 million in renovations includes a kitchen, meeting space and areas for receptions and other gatherings – a welcoming place for former students and community members.

The building was previously used as temporary office space and housed the Institutional Research Department and General Counsel.

“We are incredibly fortunate to be part of a community that invests in GRCC,” said Dr. Kathryn K. Mullins, vice president of College Advancement and executive director of the GRCC Foundation.

“Many of the people donating to support these projects are alumni who know firsthand how a GRCC education can change lives. 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.”

Grand Rapids Community College offers learners of all ages opportunities to gain credits for degrees or transfer and in-demand career skills leading to rewarding careers. GRCC was established in 1914 – Michigan’s first community college -- and offers affordable classes on weekdays, evenings, Saturdays and online at locations throughout Kent and Ottawa counties.





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