Business school to upgrade building, revamp program

Courtesy Photo /

Courtesy Photo /

Anya Zentmeyer

The Grand Valley State University Seidman College of Business has outgrown its current home and is now waiting for construction on its new building to begin.

On July 16, the Board of Trustees was presented with a buy/sell agreement by DeVries Development Properties LLC for its property at 22 and 38 Front Street in Grand Rapids. The negotiated price of $4.42 million was unanimously approved by the board, with construction expected to begin early next year.

The SCB has almost 200 employees and serves 3,000 undergraduate students and 400 graduated students, according to Mary Eilleen Lyon, assistant vice president for News & Information Services.

“The academic profile of Seidman students is now within the top three in the state,” Lyon said.

With high numbers growing higher still, Lyon said the SCB is outgrowing its shared space in the DeVos center, prompting the university to seek an alternative home.

In accordance with LEED standards, the building will be designed for sustainability to provide higher functionality with more efficiency, saving both the earth and future budget.

“The new building will allow Seidman to add new, cutting-edge educational and computing technologies, including newly configured general-purpose classrooms, computer classrooms, student team rooms and a Financial Services (Trading) Room,” said James Williams, dean of the Seidman College of Business.

Lyon said the new space will feature “cluster classrooms” that will allow students to practice investing in a real world setting and “team rooms” that will support students as they learn to work effectively in teams.

Williams said they will allow the SCB to cluster its outreach centers in a manner that facilitates and accentuates their community impact. The Small Business & Technology Development Center, the Entrepreneurship Center, the Family Owned Business Institute, the Van Andel Global Trade Center, the Business Ethics Center, and the Family Business Alliance will all come together to form the new and improved college.

“The new building will allow the college to meet the unique and evolving needs of business professionals in the new knowledge, global economy by providing different kinds of learning spaces,” Lyon said.

In addition to the aforementioned items, the new building will facilitate Seidman’s offering of a new full-time, integrated Master of Business Administration program, which is scheduled to begin no later than the 2013 Fall semester, which Williams said would distinguish the SCB at a national level.

“It is important to note that the new Seidman building will also be a fitting honor and tribute to the late L. William (Bill) Seidman, the founder of Grand Valley State University,” Williams added.

A university committee, including Seidman faculty, staff and students, is currently finalizing the programming of the building, which the architects will use to develop mechanical drawings of the spaces. The project will generate around 300 construction jobs and 150 additional permanent GVSU jobs as the SCB expands further.

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