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GVSU Putting Its Own Footprint On Health Hill
The Center for Health Professions also represents “the next leap forward” for Grand Valley and allows for significantly increased collaboration between Grand Valley State and the health-care industry in West Michigan.
During a ceremonial groundbreaking held late last month for the Center for Health Professions, GVSU President Arend Lubbers summed it up this way:
“Today marks the decision to provide the indigenous university to Grand Rapids the capability to participate in the building of a great center in medical and health expertise. It says to all that we are ready to take the next leap forward.
“We want the best,” he added, “and we know a university of high quality is necessary before we successfully complete the leap with our institute and hospital neighbors.”
The ceremony marked the culmination of a public-private partnership to build the center.
The center will enable GVSU to consolidate its life sciences and health professions courses in one location close to the area’s largest hospitals and research institutes.
GVSU spokesmen say the new instructional facility will place students and faculty amid greater opportunities for research and practical experience.
Karen Loth, director of Special and Campaign Giving, said the state provided GVSU $37.1 million and the university has raised all but about $3.2 million of the remaining $20 million through private major contributions.
Loth said the university will soon commence a public fund-raising drive geared toward businesses and individuals.
The center, with a capacity for 1,500 students, will house the Kirkhof School of Nursing, the School of Health Professions, and other nursing and life science programs and provide the space needed to develop new programs.
The School of Health Professions includes GVSU’s physical and occupational therapy, physician assistant studies, therapeutic recreation, and occupational health and safety programs.
“It is sort of a fulfillment of a special mission for health care in our town,” said Richard DeVos, chairman of the GVSU Foundation. “This is the beginning of a whole new stage for the university and for all of us.”
DeVos, Lubbers and the rest of the dignitaries were attired in stiff white GVSU lab coats for the occasion.
The five-story, 215,000-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 becoming know as “health care hill” along Michigan Street in downtown Grand Rapids.
Spectrum will add further to the landscape when it begins work this month on an $88.4 million, seven-story cardiac hospital on the southwest corner of Michigan Street and Barclay Avenue.
The exteriors of the cardiac hospital and the GVSU center will bear a certain resemblance in that each has a curved frontal façade, though the cardiac center’s will have a more dramatic look.
“What an amazing combination of things that are going to happen up here … when we begin to think of the integration of services that we have,” DeVos said.
“We’re not building a new medical center, we’re building a new industry for West Michigan, as one of the major employers and empowering forces in our economy is taking place up here.”
Construction on the Center for Health Professions, on the northeast corner of Michigan Street and Lafayette Avenue, will take more than two years to complete.
GVSU plans call for the center to open for classes in the fall of 2003.