GRCC holds Sept. 8 open house for renovated Music Center



Leah Nixon

Director of Communications

(616) 234-4213

Aug. 24, 2017 GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The public can see the changes to Grand Rapids Community College's renovated music building during a Sept. 8 open house -- and hear the upgrades through performances by talented students and alumni throughout the year.

GRCC is offering tours of the newly renamed Albert P. Smith Music Center during a community open house from 3:30-5 p.m. Sept. 8.

The building, at 142 Ransom St. NE, was constructed in 1922 and served as a physical education building for Strong Junior High School and then Grand Rapids Junior College. It was first renovated for use by the Music Department in 1980.

The renovations, which began last summer, include:

  • A new recital hall, which will be formally renamed for mezzo-soprano Linn Maxwell Keller in October.
  • New classrooms.
  • New informal gathering and study spaces.
  • Private teaching studios.
  • Instrument and music storage.
  • New acoustic and sound-reduction measures for teaching, rehearsal and practice areas.

The project has created a space where music students can make connections and explore their talent, said professor Kevin Dobreff, the Music Department's program director.

"The renovations to the Music Center will allow our students to practice, rehearse and collaborate in a much friendlier and student-centered environment," he said. "The innovative acoustic modifications and sound transfer mitigation have created practice rooms and teachings spaces that truly meet the demands of professional musicians."

GRCC students will perform in the new space throughout the year

The building was officially renamed for Albert P. Smith in August 2015, in recognition of his vision and leadership. Smith's 35-year career with the college began in 1947. In 1960, he became chairman of GRJC’s humanities division, which included the music department. During his tenure, GRJC became one of the first junior colleges accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music. GRCC is currently the only community college in Michigan with a music department that is an accredited NASM member.

Grand Rapids Community College has been offering educational opportunities in West Michigan for more than 100 years. Established in 1914, the college offers degree courses, certification and training programs, and workshops and personal enrichment classes. Offerings are held on GRCC’s downtown Grand Rapids campus, and at several locations throughout Kent and Ottawa counties, as well as through distance learning.