GVSU to accommodate growing health majors with construction of Finkelstein Hall

GVL / Courtesy - MiBiz.com

GVL / Courtesy – MiBiz.com

Theresa Mueller

Grand Valley State University’s health programs are constantly revolutionizing the experience of health sciences students, and given the enrollment growth in these programs, the university is expanding its health campus with the construction of Raleigh J. Finkelstein Hall.

Construction for the facility began in November 2016, but discussion of the development began several years ago as existing health facilities could not accommodate the increase of students going into the health majors offered at GVSU. The university has more than 20 health-related majors, and the expansion of the health campus will enable GVSU to increase enrollment capacity, as well as add necessary programs.

“The expansion will provide a synergistic health campus for Grand Valley that will fully support our 21 health sciences programs and the type of experiential and interdisciplinary learning that Grand Valley is known for,” said Maria Cimitile, provost and executive vice president for academic and student affairs, via email. 

Although the opening of the Cook-Devos Center for Health Sciences (CHS) in 2003 was a major advancement of the university health-program development, the size is not sufficient for the growing numbers of GVSU health students. 

“At the present time, the access to labs are limited due to the amount of time students need to spend in the labs and learning environments,” said James Moyer, associate vice president for facilities planning, via email. “The students are standing at the door when CHS is opened in the morning and are leaving the building late at night. More space may not avoid the long hours, but better and more prolific equipment could enhance the learning experiences.”

The building of Finkelstein Hall not only creates more space for students to learn, but it also enables the university an opportunity to advance its programs.

“As additional academic programs are developed, these will be offered,” Moyer said. “As the health care industry changed, the university has responded to these changes with new programs. New programs undergo an intensive review process so that the accreditation bodies can grant the approvals and the students can receive a quality education.”

The construction of the five-story, 84,000-square-foot facility has already broken ground and is located at the corner of Lafayette Avenue and Hastings Street, across I-196. The location of Finkelstein Hall will be an addition to the Medical Mile in Grand Rapids, allowing for a grouping of GVSU facilities, including the CHS building. 

The development of the university’s health campus requires continuous collaboration and support from local hospitals.

“Local hospitals are all in partnership with Grand Valley, providing clinical opportunities for our students and careers for our graduates,” Cimitile said. “We are very in tune with their needs and strive to remain the top provider of health professionals for our region.”

Additional support has come from multiple leadership donors in the West Michigan community. The new facility has been named in honor of Raleigh J. Finkelstein, the lead donor for the university’s health campus expansion. 

“With the exception of the initial Allendale Campus structures, community support has been essential to the development of university structures,” Moyer said. “Individuals, corporate donors and other supporters have continued to support the university scholarship and building development programs; this support is essential to the financial health of the university. 

“The availability of funding is always a factor in the expansion of any university structure.”

The expansion of the health campus will open many doors for students, not just in their learning experiences at GVSU, but also in their future endeavors. 

“The expansion of health campus enhances the learning of Grand Valley students by providing better training equipment, better-equipped labs representing current medical technology, access to better data analysis systems, more direct contact with faculty and more student group study facilities,” Moyer said. 

Focusing on the long term, Cimitile said, “More Grand Valley graduates will be available to our community in the fields that our health care providers need, and they will continue to be fully prepared to contribute to their fields from day one.”

Finkelstein Hall is scheduled for completion in May 2018.