GVSU Board of Trustees approves increased housing budget, funding for downtown parking

GVSU Board of Trustees approves increased housing budget, funding for downtown parking

Emily Doran

At its meeting on Friday, Feb. 2, in the L. William Seidman Center, the Grand Valley State University Board of Trustees approved increases to the university’s 2018-19 housing budget and dining rates, as well as budgets for two parking projects in downtown Grand Rapids. 

For the 2018-19 fiscal year, the housing budget is $55.1 million, a 1.7-percent total increase from the previous fiscal year’s budget of $54.2 million. According to the Finance and Audit Committee report brought before the Board of Trustees detailing and justifying the proposed increases, the $900,000 budget elevation means that students will be paying an average of $20 more for housing each semester. Per the same report, $5.8 million of the total housing budget will be dedicated to “repair and renovation projects for the housing and dining facilities.”

Meanwhile, GVSU’s primary meal plan option will increase by $25 per semester. According to the report, the combined rate increase for housing and dining is 1.1 percent.

Specific increases for different housing and dining options are detailed in the report.

At the meeting, the Board of Trustees also approved funding for a new parking structure near the Medical Mile in downtown Grand Rapids. The project, which is a collaboration between GVSU and Spectrum Health, will provide parking spaces for both GVSU health students and Spectrum Health employees. 

The six-level, 420,000-square-foot facility will be constructed on land owned by both institutions at 335 Michigan St. The structure will be adjacent to the state-funded health building set to open at 333 Michigan St. in the spring of 2021.  

According to a report provided to the Board of Trustees detailing the specifics of the project, the parking ramp “will replace existing surface parking lots owned by the university or Spectrum.” Most GVSU faculty and staff currently parking in the area will be relocated. The new project is expected to provide roughly 1,220 parking spaces.

James Moyer, associate vice president for facilities planning at GVSU, said the parking ramp would be built in accordance with LEED standards even though no LEED certification for parking ramps currently exists.

“The university several years ago adopted LEED standards as a way of practicing construction,” he said. “There’s no category for LEED certification of a parking ramp, but we plan to practice (the) LEED requirements on this particular project as though it was a LEED project. We will not receive any certification, but we will actually practice what we preach.”

The project will be funded by parking revenue bonds from GVSU worth $21,769,000, as well as $17,585,000 from Spectrum Health. Construction on the ramp is slated to start in May, with completion scheduled for May 2021.

The board also approved funding for a two-story parking deck at 333 Michigan St.—the site of the new health building—to provide spaces for “faculty, staff and visitors in the health professions and nursing programs,” per a report provided by Moyer. The new parking deck, which will be funded by $4.95 million in parking revenue bonds, will replace an existing lot and provide 66 parking spaces.