Work Begins On GVSU New Center For Health

June 5, 2002
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GRAND RAPIDS — The newest piece to Grand Rapids’ “Health Care Hill” begins taking shape next month, as Grand Valley State University breaks ground on its $57.1 million Center for Health Professions.

Grand Valley has scheduled a formal groundbreaking for the project, planned for the northeast corner of Michigan Street and Lafayette Avenue, for May 23. Construction will take two years to complete.

For John Gracki, the facility can’t come quickly enough, as enrollments in GVSU’s health professions programs continue to grow.

“Those health programs are just steaming along and we anticipate continued growth,” Gracki said. “We’re looking forward to that with great anticipation.”

The groundbreaking was scheduled as the university seeks to cap a fund-raising campaign to pay for the facility. All but about $3.3 million of the total cost has been secured through contributions and grants, including $37.1 million from the state.

Grand Valley has additional requests pending to “very close friends of the university”


and will broaden its campaign soon, Director of Development Maribeth Wardrop said. She’s confident that GVSU will secure the remainder of the $20 million fund-raising goal.

“The fund-raising has gone very, very quickly,” Wardrop said. “There are very few people who aren’t interested in this.”

Grand Valley plans to relocate its life sciences and health courses from its Allendale campus to the Center for Health Professions so they’re in closer proximity to the area’s largest hospitals and research institutes, offering more opportunities for student and faculty to do research and gain practical experience. The center will house the Kirkhof School of Nursing, the School of Health Professions, and other nursing and life science programs.

The five-story, 250,000-square-foot school will sit within the shadows of the Spectrum Health-Butterworth Campus, the Van Andel Institute and the Cook Institute that make up what’s become know as “health care hill.”

Spectrum further will add to the landscape when it begins work this fall on an $88.4 million, seven-story cardiac hospital on the southwest corner of Michigan Street and Barclay Avenue. 

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