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Development News

GRCC purchases former Davenport University for $9.5M, saves $25.5M compared to building new

By: Deborah Johnson Wood

Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC) officials were prepared to build a new $35 million facility for the college's health care program, but before they could break ground another opportunity came up – the opportunity to purchase Davenport University's former Grand Rapids campus for $9.5 million.

With 150,000 square feet and numerous buildings that front along Fulton Street from College to Prospect, GRCC now has plenty of space for its programs and an extraordinary opportunity to increase enrollment.

"We're place bound on the current campus and turned away over 1,000 students last year," says Anne Mulder, interim president. "This could give us the possibility to add 3,000 students between the Grand Rapids campuses and our locations throughout Kent and Ottawa counties. Given the economy and the times, this will be the college of choice for most families that can't afford more expensive colleges for the first two years."

Faculty and administration have yet to decide which programs will relocate to what Mulder calls the East Campus. After juggling departmental moves, she expects the downtown campus's Peter and Pat Cook Academic Hall's top four floors for an estimated $10 million. The college will ask the state to pay for half the cost, a path GRCC planned to take when the $35 million health care building was still on the table, thereby reducing the state's portion from $17.5 million to $5 million.

Some Davenport offices will remain in place for some months until its Caledonia campus can accommodate staff and programs. During that time the East Campus, an easy walk from GRCC's main campus, requires some renovation which will start immediately.

"It's in amazingly good shape," Mulder says. "The Cook administration building was completely renovated in 2005 and it's magnificent inside. The oldest building is probably Warren Hall and that was originally a furniture museum."

Source: Anne Mulder, Grand Rapids Community College

Photo:

Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC) new East Campus.

Photos by Joshua Tyron -All Rights Reserved

Deborah Johnson Wood is development news editor for Rapid Growth Media. She can be contacted at deborah@rapidgrowthmedia.com.

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