Summer construction wraps up

Josh Vissers

Construction crews were busy on Grand Valley State University’s campuses this summer, and returning students will notice some finished projects, as well as others still underway, as they head to classes this fall.

Performing Arts Center

In Allendale, the $20 million renovation of the Performing Arts Center is complete, with finishing touches being put on the landscaping.

“The building is now going to be named for President (Thomas Haas) and Mrs. (Marcia) Haas, who have made a significant donation to the university’s scholarship fund for students in the arts,” said Matt McLogan, vice president for university relations.

The building is now called the Thomas J. and Marcia J. Haas Center for Performing Arts.

Cook Carillon Tower

The Cook Carillon Tower’s summer renovations are also nearing completion. The repairs and cleaning will leave the familiar landmark looking “better but not different,” McLogan said.

“And of course the bells will still sound the same,” he added.

Raleigh J. Finkelstein Hall

The new building north of I-196 in Grand Rapids, Raleigh J. Finkelstein Hall, is proceeding on schedule as well, with an expected completion date of May 2018. The project, which includes teaching facilities and a $9 million parking garage, was also intended to provide for some low-cost housing for the neighborhood, according to a memorandum of understanding between GVSU and the city of Grand Rapids.

“We have agreed that Grand Valley will allow some of its land on part of that lot to be used for affordable housing, and the plans for that are still in discussion,” McLogan said. 

The university hopes plans for the housing will come together by the end of the year.

Health campus

GVSU also recently announced a planned expansion of its health campus on Michigan Street in downtown Grand Rapids. The $70 million facility will be built on the current site of the parking lot east of the Cook-Devos Center for Health Sciences, but groundbreaking won’t take place until next year.

Additional land purchases

Parking behind the fire department in Walker will also be expanded, as GVSU takes possession of more land in Allendale. A combination of land donations and purchases has led to the addition of several hundred parking spaces near the corner of Lake Michigan Drive and Kinney Avenue.

Ferris Coffee and Nut also sold its downtown building near the YMCA on Winter Avenue to GVSU to expand its engineering program’s labs. According to McLogan, the renovations on the site will be minimal due to the lab’s simple need for open space. Ferris will vacate the building in the spring and summer of next year for classes to begin in Fall 2018.

A partnership with Consumers Energy also came to fruition with the opening of the John Russel Leadership Center. Built by Consumers Energy on leased GVSU property, the building houses training sessions for Consumers Energy employees.