Renovations to Au Sable brings students together

“The intent of the addition was accomplished,” said James Moyer, associate vice president for Facilities Planning. “We needed to replace some undersized classrooms in the Au Sable Hall and the new additions achieved this objective.”

Not only do students now have access to better classrooms, the ELS Language Center, an English language program at GVSU, has moved to the new space. The center was previously located off campus on 48th Avenue.

“The existing undersized classrooms were refurbished for use by the ELS program,” Moyer said. “A similar objective was achieved for the faculty offices; existing offices were refurbished by ELS use.”

Moyer added that feedback regarding the addition has been positive from both faculty and students.

During the first week of class, students at Grand Valley State University are starting to get acquainted with the newly renovated Au Sable Hall. The 22,000-square-foot addition to the back of the building added eight classrooms and 16 offices, along with several other changes.

Nicholas Ghiglia, the ELS Language Center’s director, is excited about the move and what it will mean for the GVSU community.

“The benefits of having ELS Language Centers on campus include easy interaction between ELS international students and GVSU students and staff,” he said. “This is essential for campus internationalization.”

He added that the new location will also help ELS international students adjust to the US collegiate environment and hopes that having these students on the Allendale Campus will increase the likelihood that they will enroll at GVSU once they’ve finished with their English language classes.

Currently, enrollment at the center is 111 students and Ghiglia expects it will increase through the fall. About one-third of the students enroll at GVSU following the program. It has been with GVSU since 2004 and is one of just 65 ELS Language Centers in the country.

The move doesn’t just benefit international students though. It also benefits students who are not enrolled in the center, Ghiglia said.

“GVSU students will easily be able to meet and interact with ELS students in an academic and social setting,” he said. “The university environment is a dynamic place where students of all backgrounds can meet and learn from each other.”

The Board of Trustees approved the addition to Au Sable Hall on Feb. 8, 2013. Construction for the $6.7 million project began in June 2013 and was finished in time for the start of the fall semester.