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GVSU aDMI's 3D printer brings brand new tech to the Medical Mile

Thanks to a half-million dollar Grand Rapids SmartZone grant, Grand Valley State University’s applied Medical Device Institute (aMDI) now houses groundbreaking 3D printing technology from Carbon Inc., a Silicon Valley-based digital 3D manufacturing company. The 3D printer will make it possible for student and faculty researchers, as well as medical and manufacturing professionals, to apply 3D print technology to medical device manufacturing.

“3D printers are now able to print with properties where you can use the product right off the machine at a volume that makes it cost competitive,” says Brent M. Nowak, Ph.D., aDMI executive director. “While the technology has been around for 20 to 30 years, it’s evolving to the point that you can use it as another tool in your manufacturing toolbox.”

The aDMI’s Carbon 3D printer will be used to manufacture medical devices. Now that medical grade materials can be used for the process, Nowak explains that 3D printing offers capabilities that CNC and injection molding cannot, specifically the ability to manufacture very complex or very small parts with individually customizable features and precise geometries that are extremely difficult, costly, and time-consuming to create using traditional manufacturing technologies.

“The 3D printer can create parts to fit a particular patient with an injury or surgery … and time to market is important,” Nowak says. “That’s why we are researching 3D printing of medical devices.”

More than a dozen graduate and undergraduate students from Grand Valley’s Seymour and Esther Padnos College of Engineering and Computing, as well as faculty, will join the aMDI applied research team. Another collaborator in the project, MediSurge, handles all aspects of medical device development from engineering and manufacturing through sterilization, warehousing, and distribution. With this experience backing them up, students and faculty doing research at aDMI will receive the guidance and feedback that makes their work relevant to the real-world manufacturing segment.

“Students will be pursuing all different aspects: materials properties science, computer science, production, etc.,” Nowak says. “Our students are talking to leaders in the field, working side-by-side with real world engineers. The program will also tie them in with faculty that have the academic and real-world experience in those areas.”

Among the GVSU students involved in the project, Aldo Fanelli is in GVSU’s biomedical engineering master’s program. He is solving the anisotropic issues that printing in layers can have on reducing uniform strength throughout printed parts when force is applied from different orientations. Undergrad Noah Keefer is researching how to reduce costs in the 3D manufacturing process by maximizing density, i.e., printing more parts simultaneously. An undergraduate product designer, Genevieve Wisby, is looking at how 3D printing can push the current limits of modeling and design.

“Using 3D, you can do very organic, biologic-looking designs, rather than parts with rectangular coordinates. You can print anything, parts within parts. You can take old designs, that when manufactured using traditional methods, required five parts, and redesign them into one component,” Nowak says. “It’s marvelous. You don’t have to assemble, inspect five different components, come up with screw or bolt patterns for fastening the parts together. And, you don’t have to worry about leaks.”

Located in Grand Valley’s Cook-DeVos Center for Health Sciences, aMDI’s Carbon 3D printer makes GVSU the sixth university in the nation with the technology on campus — the other five are on the East or West Coast.

“This shows that West Michigan and Grand Rapids look at novel ways to bring in the latest technologies and this speaks to the character of West Michigan,” Nowak says. “This program is going to attract new companies to the region and impact our whole economy. It goes to show what we can do here in Michigan — and I am really proud of what we can do here in Grand Rapids.”

Written by Estelle Slootmaker, Development News Editor
Photos courtesy Grand Valley State University aDMI

Biodigesting beer wastes brings City closer to renewable energy goals

The City of Grand Rapids has been recognized as a green city and a beer city. Now that Founders Brewing Co. is sending brewing wastes to the City’s new biodigester, those designations are converging to literally energize the city. Each day, the two-mile-long, 10-inch waste transmission pipeline under Market Avenue SW will deliver approximately 140,000 gallons of water discharge carrying highly concentrated brewing wastes from Founders to the City’s Water Resource Recovery Facility (WRRF) at 1300 Market Ave. SW.

“Most people know how beer is made. You put hops and water in a tank with yeast,” says Mike Lunn, City of Grand Rapids utilities director. “The biodigester heats the wastes from the process to 98 degrees for 15 to 18 days. Bacteria and microorganisms break down the waste and make biogas and you end up with less solids [to dispose of].”

After treating the biogas—gaseous fuel, especially methane, produced by the fermentation of organic matter—the recovered methane will fuel a generator to produce electricity. Lunn calculates that the biodigester will produce 15- to 16-million kilowatts of energy a year, “a good chunk” of the 23-million kilowatts a year used to operate the WRRF facility. As the City adds more biodigester customers, Lunn expects it to provide 100 percent of the WRRF facility’s electricity by 2023, including the energy required to heat the biodigester tanks. This is two years ahead of the City’s goal to provide all energy for City facilities from renewable sources by 2025. The City expects the biodigester project to reduce operating costs mainly by lowering solids volumes by 20 percent and producing electricity savings of $600,000. This Youtube video demonstrates how a biodigester works.

“We’ll also have ability to bring in liquid industrial byproduct that will help,” Lunn says. “The biodigester project is addressing growth in the region. We have a much larger plan. We’d like to start out first year with ten trucks a day and work up to maybe forty or fifty trucks—10,000 gallons each of waste.”

While Founders is the biodigester’s first customer, SET Environmental, also located on Market Avenue, is in line to be the next. The City plans on receiving wastes from additional business customers located along the pipeline.

“It’s been great working with the City of Grand Rapids on the biodigester project,” says Brad Stevenson, Founders' chief production officer. “This coming together of the public and private sectors in the name of sustainability will have a positive impact on the future of our brewery and our city.”

Written by Estelle Slootmaker, Development news Editor
Photo courtesy City of Grand Rapids

Holland BPW unveils new clean energy electric generating "park" with greenway trails, education

The Holland Board of Public Works (HBPW) has unveiled its architectural design for its proposed natural gas-fired electric generating facility for the city of Holland, a 26-acre site at 5th St. and Fairbanks Avenue. The new plant will replace the outdated coal-burning waterfront James DeYoung plant.

Highlights of the design include:
•    a 50-ft.-high glass wall on the south side that enables visitors to watch the equipment and processes at work
•    a red ceramic fiberboard "spine" that creates an observation gallery
•    walkways, roads, and parking areas heated by a snowmelt system powered by the plant
•    walking paths that could eventually connect to the nearby Macatawa Greenway
•    a green roof, permeable pavement, bio-swales and rain gardens to capture stormwater runoff
•    fencing, gates, and picnic tables made from the 20,000 cubic feet of concrete recycled from the demolition of existing structures on the site

"We want this to be an educational resource," says Dave Koster, HBPW general manager. "We will have lots of tours, and we'll have about 26 acres for buffer space around the facility, close to greenway systems and destination points. The public can use it and be on the grounds to enjoy the natural trails around the property."

Koster says planning began about 10 years back when ideas were put forth to increase capacity of the DeYoung plant by adding another coal-fired facility. After several studies, a steering committee of 20 local stakeholders gathered public input and decided to build the 114 megawatt gas-fired energy park and to establish it in a location away from the Lake Macatawa shoreline as an eastern gateway to the city.

The HBPW has purchased some 50 of the 60 properties needed, offering fair market value plus extra percentages to homeowners on those parcels, and has purchased commercial parcels and helped relocate those businesses. Demolition of existing buildings begins after the Tulip Time Festival, and after local nonprofits Homecor and Jubilee Ministries have opportunities to harvest usable furnaces, water heaters, and other equipment from the structures.

Koster expects the plant will be fully operational in 2016.

To learn more, visit p21decision.com.

Architectual design: HDR, Inc.

Writer: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor

Noted Muskegon architectural firm Hooker DeJong branches out to Grand Rapids

Longtime Muskegon architectural and engineering firm Hooker DeJong has branched out from its home base to the Grand Rapids market with the opening of its first satellite office. The company has a 75-year history in Muskegon, but in recent years has employed several people from the Grand Rapids area, making a local office hub a practicality.

While the new office at 212 Grandville Ave. SW became reality several months ago as shared space with Fusion Properties, creating a separate space for four employees -- plus a drop-in hub for on-the-road employees -- is now complete.

"We've worked with Fusion Properties in the past, and (this building) works well for us because of the ease of getting on and off US-131 for our travel needs," says Cindy Hindi, client services specialist. "We made acoustical changes for a quieter atmosphere, but left the exposed ductwork and interior brick walls. This has a contemporary, urban feel to it."

Hooker DeJong's project list includes Fusion Properties' Grand Central Lofts in Grand Rapids, Muskegon County Veteran’s Memorial Causeway Park, Holland's Midtown Senior Apartments and Evergreen Commons Day Center, and the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians' new Government Center in Manistee.

Hooker DeJong will host Green Drinks Grand Rapids at San Chez A Tapas Bistro (38 W. Fulton St.) on March 21 (5:00 – 7:00 p.m.), followed by an informal walk-thru of the new office space.

Source: Cindy Hindi, Hooker DeJong, Inc.
Writer: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor

Proposed $4M biodigester to convert cow manure, restaurant grease to power for Lowell Light & Power

Developers of a proposed anaerobic digester that could supply Lowell Light & Power with 10 percent of its electric power requirement are well on their way to finalizing construction plans for the $4 million project. Sustainable Partners, LLC, (Spart) has partnered with Germany-based enCO2 to design and build the biodigester in a vacant factory building at 625 Chatham St., Lowell.

Plans are to process some 8,000 tons of cow manure per year from Swisslane Dairy Farm (Alto), over 400,000 gallons of used restaurant grease per year from Kerkstra Services (Hudsonville), and an undetermined amount of liquid waste from Litehouse Foods (Lowell). This will all then be converted into clean electricity, fed back into Lowell Light & Power's grid for the company's 2600 customers in Lowell, Lowell Township and Vergennes Township.

"There are 8,000 biodigesters in Germany and less than 200 in the U.S.," Northrup says. "That's why we have a German partner with [experience with] over 60 different projects. We're trying to do this to eventually build 500 projects for communities across the Midwest, so we're developing it as a template."

Northrup says the 25,000 square feet available in the former factory provides enough room to house nearly the entire biodigester, plus allows space for the trucks to offload manure and grease directly into the digester's holding tanks. He says the digester doesn't produce the foul odors of a farm's slurry pond. It also provides a means to divert hundreds of thousands of gallons of used restaurant grease from local landfills.

Rockford Construction will begin the construction process once the financing is completed. Northrup expects the biodigester to begin operations by December 2012 or January 2013.

Source: Greg Northrup, Sustainable Partners, LLC (Spart)
Writer: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor

Century-old Grand Rapids manufacturer launches new business venture near Old North Boundary

The 134-year-old Bissell Homecare, Inc. has launched a new think tank in Grand Rapids' Old North Boundary building -- a venture focused on leveraging Bissell's core competencies for innovative new business opportunities that will grow the company's global market.

Bissell Business Ventures, a group of about 15 employees, launched in January to build on the momentum begun last August when the group released its first new venture, Bissell Big Green Rental. The group moved into the Old North Boundary building (1140 Monroe NW) last week.

"Bissell entered into the floor cleaning rental industry with a new carpet cleaning machine we developed over the past two years," says Jim Krzeminski, president of Bissell Business Ventures, LLC. "How do we bring an easy-to-use product to a community rental over and over again? How do we make sure the machine is clean and ready to use for the next customer? It required a whole new business model, a whole different infrastructure, a whole new machine."

Krzeminski says Bissell Big Green Rental draws on Bissell's engineering expertise and test laboratories, making it a "first cousin" to the Bissell brand. Big Green Rental is now in about 900 Lowe's stores nationwide with a planned rollout to Canada and other countries later this year.

Krzeminski says the formation of Bissell Business Ventures keeps the brains behind the venture in West Michigan.

"We moved just three miles down the road (from the Walker headquarters)," he says. "The idea isn't to invest in bricks and mortar; the idea is to break out and think differently to foster innovation.

"For a company coming up on its 135th anniversary celebrating the issuance of the first sweeper patent (Sept. 19), we continue to grow and prosper and make investments. We now have a place to bring new ideas, entrepreneurs and new investments so we continue to grow in different ways."

Source: Jim Krzeminski, Bissell Business Ventures
Writer: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor

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The heart of Grand Rapids' Heartside revs up for business with $2.4M reconstruction project

What people will see when traveling down the new Commerce Avenue SW are neat brick-lined sidewalks, 50 freshly planted trees, new bike racks and attractive decorative lighting. Commerce Avenue reopened last week after six months of intensive reconstruction and it's more than just a pretty face.

"Commerce (Avenue) was literally the worst street in the city; the potholes looked like craters on the moon," says Jay Fowler, executive director of the Grand Rapids Downtown Development Authority. "When we started doing this kind of work, so much of the infrastructure downtown was very much antiquated. We can't really expect private investors to invest in downtown when we don't improve the infrastructure."

The section of Commerce between Cherry and Wealthy streets, plus Williams St. SW and Bartlett St. SW between Ionia and Commerce underwent $2.4 million of vital upgrades that include a new water main and water services to properties, new storm sewers and sanitary sewers, and new curbs, gutters and sidewalks.

New street surfaces include asphalt on Commerce and brick pavers over concrete on Williams and Bartlett.

The street reconstruction comes at a time when developers are wrapping up construction on investments of some $60 million for the new 38 (38 Commerce SW) and The Gallery apartments (Commerce SW and W. Fulton) and are seeking commercial and residential tenants.

Recent investments of millions more created nightspots Stella's Lounge and The Viceroy (both at 53 Commerce SW), and new digs for Lambert, Edwards and Associates (47 Commerce SW) with plans for another nightspot and concert venue, The Pyramid Scheme, at 68 Commerce SW.

The DDA contributed $1.2 million to fund the streetscaping portion of the project; the City of Grand Rapids funded the rest of the project. Dykema Excavators handled the excavation.

Source: Jay Fowler, Downtown Development Authority; Tiiu Arrak, Public Information Administrator, City of Grand Rapids
Writer: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor

Grand Valley State University alternative energy center attracts another energy startup to Muskegon

Brighton-based McKenzie Bay International launched 12 years ago as a mining company, then made the switch in 2004 to alternative energy. The company eventually ran out of money and a major wind turbine project stalled, but President and CEO Kevin Cook says the firm has not only rebounded but has re-launched as an alternative and renewable energy "research and development visionary."

McKenzie Bay is the newest tenant of Grand Valley State University's Michigan Alternative and Renewable Energy Center (MAREC), at 200 Viridian Dr., Muskegon. MAREC is a cutting-edge facility created to advance innovations in alternative energy; it dedicates a portion of its 25,000 square feet as an incubator for energy startups.

The firm moved into the alternative energy arena with the development of the Windstor Wind Turbine, a three-bladed commercial turbine that rotates on a vertical access and can pick up the breeze from any angle, Cook says.

"The turbine prototype is installed at Pioneer Bluff Apartments in Ishpeming (Mich.) and has been built over a five-year period," Cook says. "When the project stalled, Clean Green Energy bought the turbine and they now own it. We are contracted with them to continue its development and they'll manufacture it. An important point is that we received a grant from the Department of Energy to develop it."

Other MAREC tenants are Energy Partners, LLC, Logical Lighting Systems, LLC. and Smart Vision Lights.

"MAREC has multiple spaces for conferences and meetings, a place we can bring our shareholders," Cook says. "We'll be able to collaborate with the other tenants here. I'm excited to see what could happen in the next year or so."

Cook says McKenzie Bay is also working on development of Ethereal Logic, a wireless lighting system that could control multiple electrical systems within a building, including HVAC and security.

Source: Kevin Cook, McKenzie Bay International
Writer: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor

Sneak peek at $90M Secchia Center, Michigan State University's med school in Grand Rapids

Deborah Johnson Wood

Members of the media received a sneak peak at the completed Secchia Center, the new home of Michigan State University's College of Human Medicine. The tour showcased one of the most advanced – and beautiful – energy-efficient structures in West Michigan.

Construction of the $90 million state-of-the-art facility strategically situates the building at 15 Michigan St. NE, Grand Rapids, to maximize exposure to daylight and views of the city and Grand River.

A four-story atrium faces west with windows that frame nearby Bridgewater Place like a photograph.

"This is the 'living room' of the building," says Elizabeth Lawrence, assistant dean and project lead for the Secchia Center. "This is the focal point where students will gather."

Honey-colored wood, custom designed tile art, sage greens and burnt oranges fill the 180,000-square-foot building with warmth. Daylight streams through the windows, and a smart lighting system illuminates spaces only when light levels are low.

The building features 25 "exam rooms" where students learn how to interact with patients by "treating" standardized patients – actors hired to follow a script of medical maladies. Several empty rooms will be configured to fit the needs of the students and can simulate a room in a nursing home, a patient's house or a hospital.

The pristine lines of a five-story wood and glass staircase zigzag upward through the center of the building, open from top to bottom, creating an eye-catching sculptural effect.

On each floor, study pods, open spaces with comfortable couches, and alcoves with tables and chairs provide communal and semi-private areas where students can study and engage with each other one-on-one or in groups. Two lecture halls enable students from MSU's other six campuses to attend classes taught in Grand Rapids via video conferencing.

The college expects some 250 students this year, and predicts that many of them will complete their residencies in West Michigan after graduation.

"Last year, 17 of our 30 graduates stayed here for their residencies," says Margaret Thompson, M.D., associate dean.

The building is named for MSU alumni and lead donors Ambassador Peter and Joan Secchia. Funding for the project comes entirely from private donations, bonds and other sources, says Lawrence.

The architect of record is URS Corporation, the design architect is Ellenzweig of Cambridge, Mass., and the Christman Company constructed the building.

The college plans a public open house from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Saturday, September 11.

Source: Elizabeth Lawrence and Margaret Thompson, MSU College of Human Medicine; Wondergem Consulting

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Deborah Johnson Wood is development news editor for Rapid Growth Media. She can be contacted at deborah@rapidgrowthmedia.com. Development News tips can be sent to info@rapidgrowthmedia.com.

Hansen Nature Trail opens in Grand Rapids' Millennium Park

Deborah Johnson Wood

A new nature trail that winds around several ponds in the most undisturbed natural area of Kent County's Millennium Park opened last week.

The Hansen Nature Trail, named after donors Dick and Sandy Hansen who funded the $100,000 project, is just over a half-mile long, but it connects to more than 20 miles of the Fred Meijer Millennium Trail Network within the park as well as the Kent Trails system and a Grand Rapids City Trail along Wealthy St. SE.

The trail is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, made of compacted crushed stone that will accommodate wheelchairs and mountain bikes. The pathway loops through the property of a former fish hatchery near the intersection of Butterworth and Riverbend streets. Users can fish from a wheelchair-accessible fishing deck that extends over one of the ponds.

"The Hansen Nature Trail adds another element to the park," says Roger Sabine, director of Kent County Parks. "It's the most natural area we have that's open with trails, a little closer to nature than the rest of the trails. There are more sights and sounds than there might be on other trails because it's a little less busy."

Millennium Park is open to the public at no cost, and features age-appropriate playgrounds, picnic areas and a boardwalk along the water's edge. Access to the swimming area ranges from $2 to $4 per person per visit, or via a $50 family pass.

Source: Roger Sabine, Kent County Parks Department; Kate Washburn, Wondergem Consulting

Deborah Johnson Wood is development news editor for Rapid Growth Media. She can be contacted at deborah@rapidgrowthmedia.com. Development News tips can be sent to info@rapidgrowthmedia.com.

New furniture company in Holland crafts innovative pieces for public spaces

Deborah Johnson Wood

A hip new furniture startup in Holland plans to spark up the way people use public spaces with the launch of the company's initial furniture line geared for a technology-driven society.

Sparkeology is a combined effort of longtime library furniture-maker The Worden Company, architecture and design firm Via Design and its sister company Viable, and graphic design firm Square One Design. The company operates out of Worden's headquarters at 199 East 17th St.

"We saw that public spaces have become community hubs where people gather," says Worden spokesperson Robin Hendrick Lane. "On campuses, students gather in coffee shops, in hallways between classes, in lounges in dorms. We see opportunities in all of those spaces where people need to sit down and plug in, and the need to create little spaces where people can work."

Lane says users can plug into built-in electrical connections in the furniture, as well as "plug into" engagement with any group that gathers – the furniture is lightweight and designed to fit a number of configurations.

For example, Flip can be a table or a stool, or flip it over and it holds your briefcase and coffee – off the floor and upright. And there's Ty, a space divider that "ties" everything together and doubles as a central power hub. Add a Ty-Pad backrest and Ben, a coordinating bench, and you have seating, a power source and a divider that can become a display piece.

"We're looking at ways to accommodate a laptop in terms of a tablet arm that can be folded away," Lane says. "And our display pieces double as space dividers with interchangeable interiors that go from cubbies to shelves and you can hang a flat screen TV or monitor off the interior."

Worden will manufacture the furniture in its FSC-certified facility, using wood veneers, low-formaldehyde wood cores, or metals made of recycled and recyclable materials.

Sparkeology's first nine products will make their debut at NeoCon World's Trades Fair 2010, a decision made just six weeks ago. Flip will compete in the Best of NeoCon competition for office accessories.

Source: Robin Hendrick Lane, Sparkeology

Deborah Johnson Wood is development news editor for Rapid Growth Media. She can be contacted at deborah@rapidgrowthmedia.com. Development News tips can be sent to info@rapidgrowthmedia.com.

Kent County plans $26 million jail renovation, replacement of outdated facilities

Deborah Johnson Wood

Kent County plans to demolish and rebuild several outdated buildings on its campus at 701 Ball Ave. using $26 million in millage funds approved in November 2009.

The outdated buildings, constructed in the 1950s through 1970s, have no fire suppression sprinkling systems and contain antiquated heating systems and corroded cast iron plumbing, says Kent County Undersheriff Jon Hess.

The maximum security area, one of the areas scheduled for renovation, now consists of "linear supervision" units: cells and cell blocks aligned in a row and patrolled every hour by a guard.

"The current trend is direct or indirect supervision where inmates live in pods," Hess says. "The officer works in the pod and is right in there with the inmates, so there are no gaps in supervision."

A 1992 addition has the pod style environment. Six new pods will be added and double-bunking in the cells will increase the number of beds from 1,215 to about 1,275.

"Adding the pods will limit the movement of inmates, making the facility safer for everyone," Hess says. "Inmates eat in the pods, they have recreation activities there, they see medical personnel there and have school or church there."

The renovation includes a new audio/visual system for visitations. Visitors will no longer have to enter through a metal detector and inmates will remain in their pods. The visits will take place via computer cameras and monitors set up in the visiting area and in the pods.

"This has been successful around the country and we're encouraging attorneys, ministers, counselors, and other professionals to buy the software so they can visit the inmate without having to leave their offices," Hess says.

The project breaks ground May 20. Tower Pinkster is the architect. Owens-Ames-Kimball is construction manager.

Source: Jon Hess, Kent County Sheriff's Office

Deborah Johnson Wood is development news editor for Rapid Growth Media. She can be contacted at deborah@rapidgrowthmedia.com. Development News tips can be sent to info@rapidgrowthmedia.com.

Beta Design, Pinnacle Construction to share collaborative workspace in Grand Rapids

Deborah Johnson Wood

Beta Design and Pinnacle Construction will soon share a collaborative workspace along the Grand River as part of an initiative to drive business for the two companies. Beta Design will relocate from two floors at 70 Ionia SW, Grand Rapids to 5,000 square feet in Pinnacle's building at 1000 Front St. NW.

The two companies will remain separate entities but will share a conference room, library and reception area. However, both companies say the most significant reason for the change is to offer a single source for clients looking for design, construction and engineering expertise.

"We can learn from each other and share ideas," says Beta Design owner Adriana Bylsma. "Normally a client can hire an architect who will create tons of detailed drawings so the client can put in a bid. But if we work with the construction company right from the beginning, we can reduce the details because we can find better ways of doing things."

"We can team together and approach clients with a fully integrated approach," says Michael Garrett, president of Pinnacle Construction. "We're stronger together than we are as just individual firms. We'll be able to work together very quickly and bounce ideas off each other. Being in the same building, we can quickly get feedback on costs of a project as it's being designed so a client can consider it very quickly."

Pinnacle has been in the building eight years and has always had the extra space; Garrett says he was looking for a related business to bring in. Bylsma has searched downtown Grand Rapids for a space where Beta Design could reduce its carbon footprint and bring its 25 employees into a collaborative environment with a complementary company.

Bylsma and Garrett say both firms will continue to work with other outside companies on development projects.

"I can see that we will try to open opportunities for each other," Bylsma says. "It becomes more than just one person on the street trying to see opportunities."

Source: Adriana Bylsma, Beta Design; Michael Garrett, Pinnacle Construction

Deborah Johnson Wood is development news editor for Rapid Growth Media. She can be contacted at deborah@rapidgrowthmedia.com. Development News tips can be sent to info@rapidgrowthmedia.com.

Developers' foresight connects Heartside's new "38" with the original's architecture

Deborah Johnson Wood

When Locus Development's John Green and Andy Winkel set out to demolish the original brick building at 38 Commerce and build the contemporary "38" in its place, they made sure to reserve bits and pieces from the old to use as architectural and art elements in the new.

Over the past couple of weeks the original brick façade of the first building has been recycled as brick cladding on the interior commercial and residential lobbies. Two steel structural beams are now art elements incorporated into the wall of the commercial lobby for the building along Weston St.

"The beams are the old riveted style about 12 inches deep," says Scott Veine, project manager from Pioneer Construction. "They reclaimed about 100 lineal feet. Pioneer sandblasted the rust and layers of old paint off them, refinished them, and they became art elements tied directly into the old brick, which in turn ties into the new construction."

Veine says the recycled content in the new 38, which will be LEED certified, is about 27 percent – a number in line with the Midwest's slightly higher percentages for recycled content in LEED buildings.

"Steel and aggregates are created in the Midwest," Veine says. "About 40 percent are locally fabricated and, of those, about 25 percent are locally extracted out of the ground or are made from locally obtained content (within 500 miles)."

Thirty of the building's 35 apartments are leased, 13 are occupied, says Jessica Geerling, Locus Development. One of the eight condos has been purchased.

Construction of all the apartments is completed, Veine says, and crews will end all construction by late May with the exception of the interior build-outs for the four retail bays on the main level.

Source: Scott Veine, Pioneer Construction; Jessica Geerling, Locus Development

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Deborah Johnson Wood is development news editor for Rapid Growth Media. She can be contacted at deborah@rapidgrowthmedia.com. Development News tips can be sent to info@rapidgrowthmedia.com.


Courtesy of Locus Development

Hope Network brings therapeutic architecture to life at new $1.2 million Center for Autism

Deborah Johnson Wood

Hope Network's new Center for Autism maximizes the positive effects that a building's interior shape, color and noise level can have on persons with autism and other neurodevelopmental disabilities.

The Center for Autism is an outpatient facility for adolescents located on Hope Network's Coral Lettinga Campus, 3361 36th Street SE.

Mike and Connie Lettinga drove from the Grand Rapids area to the east side of the state regularly to get their daughter, Coral, the special services she needed to help her with her autism. It was the Lettinga's idea to develop a comprehensive and innovative autism center close to home.

"People with autism have under- or over-developed sensory systems that are highly reactive to colors, odors, and noise," says David Gamble, Hope Network's director of children's services. "Often this affects their balance or they have spatial issues, like not knowing the distance between themselves and the wall. That's why it's important for them to touch things and walls when they walk."

The autism center incorporates design elements to relieve some of this stress, such as, curving walls, rounded corners and pastel colors. Noise reduction materials, including acoustical ceilings and special padding under the gymnasium floor, prevent sound reverberation.

Framed pictures of children or a leaf or flower painted on the walls create simple and calming wayfinding signage.

The 12,000-square-foot former warehouse features a Model Living Unit with a bed and dresser, laundry facilities, a kitchen and bathroom.

"The Model Living Unit is where we teach clients how to make their bed, wash and dry and fold laundry, and do other things that are part of daily living," Gamble says. "I was just down there the other day and we were teaching two students how to make cookies."

There are also rooms for sensory learning, occupational therapy, psychotherapy, medical exams, speech therapy and family visitations. Outdoors is a playground, basketball court and a track.

A grand opening on April 23 from 5 to 7 p.m. is open to the public.

Source: David Gamble, Hope Network; Craig Clark, Clark Communications

Deborah Johnson Wood is development news editor for Rapid Growth Media. She can be contacted at deborah@rapidgrowthmedia.com. Development News tips can be sent to info@rapidgrowthmedia.com.

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