Aug. 24, 2021, GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Grand Rapids Community College celebrated renovations to historic buildings on the Main and DeVos campuses – and the ability to expand programs and improve the student experience -- with a four-part ribbon-cutting today.
The work includes renovations to Raleigh J. Finkelstein Hall, Steven C. Ender Hall and the Custer Alumni House in addition to a new wing and other improvements to the Wisner-Bottrall Applied Technology Center.
Some of the projects were completed earlier this year, with celebrations delayed because of the pandemic. Others are nearing completion as students are welcomed back for the fall 2021 semester.
“These renovations allow us to modernize buildings and expand programs, but we also are able to honor the legacies of people who, for decades, have worked to make our college and community stronger,” said Dr. Bill Pink, GRCC president. “We are preserving what made these buildings special, but making sure they are able to meet the needs of the students of today, and tomorrow.”
Raleigh J. Finkelstein Hall, built nearly a century ago, has been transformed into a 21st-century learning space, reimagining the student experience for services including admissions and financial aid, as well as modernized classrooms, offices, gathering areas, dining spots, and welcoming entrances. Renovations to four floors are complete, and work continues on part of the building that includes a new Veterans Center, technology support and dining options.
Formerly called the Main Building, Finkelstein Hall was renamed in 2019 to honor the support of Raleigh J. Finkelstein, a business leader and philanthropist who has supported higher education in West Michigan.
Renovations and updates will help keep the Wisner-Bottrall Applied Technology Center a state-of-the-art facility serving students and the greater community. The project includes a two-story, 18,416-square-foot expansion with machine tool and data center labs as well as a renovated open computer lab and increased student gathering and study spaces.
The building is named after business and community leaders Tom and Joyce Wisner and David and Michelle Bottrall, who have long supported GRCC and West Michigan organizations.
The former Mable Engle House on the DeVos Campus received a historic renovation, preserving its beautiful wood interiors while creating modern spaces for students, staff and faculty. As Steven C. Ender Hall, it will be used by student-focused departments, including the Experiential Learning and Honors programs and Student Employment Services, with space for Student Life clubs and organizations.
The building is named after the college’s ninth president, who focused on providing opportunities for students and helping them overcome obstacles to success.
The Custer Alumni House is the new name for the Lettinga House, reflecting its role as the home of the GRCC Foundation and alumni activities. Renovations include a kitchen, meeting space and areas for receptions and other gatherings – a welcoming place for former students and community members.
The building is named after community leaders and philanthropists David and Karen Custer. David Custer is director emeritus of the GRCC Foundation, receiving two national alumni awards in 2020.
“Together, these projects reflect an investment in our students and in our community’s future,” said Dr. Kathryn K. Mullins, vice president of Advancement and executive director of the GRCC Foundation. “GRCC is uniquely positioned to help learners connect or reconnect with higher education, meeting people where they are to help them get to where they want to be.”
The college celebrated a ribbon-cutting on Aug. 19 for the new GRCC Lakeshore Campus, a consolidated presence in Holland Township aimed at making higher education more accessible and affordable for Lakeshore residents.