Baker Starts 51M In Construction

April 9, 2003
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MUSKEGON — After experiencing a 23 percent enrollment increase last fall, and expecting more than 5,000 students on campus within five years, Baker College of Muskegon is undertaking $5.1 million in new construction and renovations.

Most of the work is targeted for completion by this fall. The largest piece of the building program, a $2.5 million, 200-unit residence hall, is planned for occupancy in the fall of 2004.

The building program is "one of the most aggressive" ever done at Baker College's Muskegon campus and is intended to meet rapid growth in student enrollments, President Rick Amidon said.

"The growth has been phenomenal," Amidon said.

Student enrollment at Baker College of Muskegon grew to 3,411. Amidon expects enrollment at the career college's Muskegon campus to reach 3,600 to 3,700 students this fall and exceed 5,000 by the fall of 2008.

Enrollment has grown steadily from 1,450 students in 1997 when Baker College of Muskegon moved to its present 50-acre campus on Quarterline Road after buying the site, which once housed a state hospital, for $1. The college, prior to the recently initiated building program, had invested more than $13 million in renovations and new construction since 1997, including a new $400,000 kitchen to accommodate the school's culinary arts program and a $500,000 lab for a veterinary assistant course, both of which came in 2001.

The present building program will accommodate Baker College of Muskegon's growth for two to three years before more expansion is needed, Amidon said. Baker College, unlike many schools that plan new facilities several years into the future, takes on building projects on an ongoing, as-needed basis.

Amidon "fully anticipates" the next phase of expansion to include another residence hall and a new academic wing.

For now, expansions and renovations planned include:

  • A $2.5 million residence hall for students who choose to live on campus. Construction is scheduled to start by September and occupancy is targeted for the fall of 2004.

  • A $720,000 conversion of a 15,000-square-foot former state hospital building to house early childhood education, computer-aided design and interior design classes.

  • A $650,000 conversion of the swimming pool and locker rooms into five computer labs.

  • A $200,000 renovation of existing space to create a radiology lab, plus $350,000 in equipment, for a new radiology associates degree program beginning this fall.

  • $700,000 to expand the student commons area.

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