GVSU to add new $46.5 million health sciences building

GVL / Courtesy - GVSU Facilities Planning

GVSU Facilities Planning

GVL / Courtesy – GVSU Facilities Planning

Audra Gamble

The Grand Valley State University Board of Trustees approved plans for a new health sciences building in Grand Rapids at its latest meeting Friday, Nov. 4.

The building, which will be located on Lafayette Avenue and Hastings Street, will be ready for move-in May of 2018.

The $46.5 million project includes a $9 million parking structure and a five-story, $37.5 million building. According to the report provided to the Board of Trustees, the health sciences building “will be funded by a combination of donor contributions, university-issued bonds and campus development funds.”

The budget for the building includes $3.1 million for professional services and fees, $27.4 million for construction services and site utilities, $4.45 million for furniture, equipment and telecommunications and $2.55 million for unexpected contingency expenses.

At the moment, GVSU is leasing around 11,000 square feet in the surrounding area to accommodate its lack of offices for faculty and staff.

“We have had a long-term plan to increase our investment in the health professions and nursing as part of the mission of Grand Rapids and the recognition of the high demand for these programs among our students,” said Gayle Davis, GVSU provost and vice president for academic and student affairs. “We have overflowed our current Center for Health Sciences, and having been in this situation for a number of years, this is in an effort to take care of the spaces we have had to lease.
“We will be able to bring those people back into the main campus buildings there at that location and save quite a lot of money on leasing about 11,000 square feet that we have had to acquire in the past to take care of our needs.”

The 84,000 square feet building will include four classrooms, 15 teaching laboratories, one computer lab, two departmental suites and 90 faculty offices. The new addition to GVSU’s campus will also include indoor and outdoor student study spaces, storage rooms and student organization meeting space.

The instructional space and offices will be used by programs in the College of Health Professions and the Kirkhof College of Nursing.

Rockford Construction Co. has been selected as the construction manager and Fishbeck, Thompson, Carr and Huber, Inc. will be the project architect and engineer. Construction is expected to begin this December, with a groundbreaking ceremony later this month.

Designs for the building are nearly done, and nearby residents have been consulted about the project.

“The building has been modified quite extensively to address some of the concerns of the surrounding neighborhood,” said James Moyer, associate vice president for facilities planning at GVSU. “(There will be) 240 parking spaces and a parking ramp. We were asked by the community to make the parking structure look less like a stack of concrete blocks to something that is more appealing to the neighborhood.”

In addition to the new building at 500 Lafayette Ave. near the Cook-DeVos Center for Health Sciences, GVSU is planning a separate $70 million health building on Michigan Street. According to Matt McLogan, vice president for university relations, the $70 million building will be one of GVSU’s highest priority in the coming years, due to an increased demand for health professionals in West Michigan.

“The university is currently leasing office space to support the programs, however academic classrooms and lab space is not available for lease,” university officials wrote in the Capital Outlay Major Project Request for 2018. “Existing space has been renovated for additional teaching use, but there are limits to what we can renovate.”