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GRCC Lakeshore Campus transformation from mall anchor to learning hub highlighted by American Institute for Architects

July 6, 2022, GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- The transformation of a shuttered JCPenney department store into the vibrant learning hub that is the GRCC Lakeshore Campus is being highlighted in a national publication for building design.

Architect, the journal of the American Institute for Architects, salutes GMB Architecture + Engineering, which designed the project, and The Christman Co., which directed construction. The Grand Rapids Community College Facilities team, directed by Jim Van Dokkumburg, oversaw the transformation.

The Washington-based AIA is the leading professional organization for architects and design professionals.

“The new GRCC Lakeshore campus creates new identity, access, and integration for the full range of its academic programs. It does so with the sustainable and affordable reuse of existing retail space. It leverages the remaining retail of the mall as its 'third space' neighbors, giving students a robust atmosphere for fun and continued engagement. And it renews the role of the mall as a truly active, mixed-use anchor in the Holland Lakeshore community,” the journal reads.

The 52,000-square-foot GRCC Lakeshore Campus opened in August 2021 in the Shops at Westshore Mall, 12335 James St. in Holland. The 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 building 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.

“The vast interior space was not only converted into labs and classrooms, but the exterior of the building was completely transformed by carving away exterior brick to allow for natural daylight to enter the vast space, establishing a modern, welcoming presence while saving as much of the existing building shell as possible to keep the project in budget. Additionally, the building will be LEED certified as part of GRCC’s sustainability goals.”

The project earlier in the year was named an “Outstanding Project” in the Community College Renovation/Adaptive Reuse/Restoration category by Learning by Design magazine.

Learning by Design showcases the best in the education design and construction market, recognizing innovative pre-K to 12 schools and cutting-edge colleges and universities.

Information about the classes offered at the GRCC Lakeshore Campus and enrollment is available at