Kent's Fuller Campus Plan Is Set

September 12, 2004
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GRAND RAPIDS — The master plan for the Kent County Fuller Avenue Campus gives the county 10 areas for expansion, more parking spaces, and adds a new street that would run the length of the campus.

But as Facilities Management Director Robert Mihos pointed out, no one should look for the county to begin any construction soon.

“This is really a tool. There is nothing in concrete. This is a plan,” said Mihos last week.

Design Plus, a Grand Rapids architectural firm, drew up the master plan after lengthy discussions with county officials and residents who live near the campus that stretches east from Fuller to Ball avenues along

Bradford Street
on the city’s northeast side.

Craig Nicely of Design Plus said the plan looks 10 years down the road and told a handful of county commissioners that Kent officials should review it at least every three years or when an issue concerning the campus arises.

The 77-acre campus is home to Community Mental Health, KentCommunityHospital, the county Health Department, a state police crime lab, the county correctional facility, and the sheriff’s department.

The plan shows areas for a maximum-security wing for the correctional facility and an expansion of the jail. New construction could add a power plant, a central dispatch building, and an animal shelter. Up to 244 new parking spaces could also be added.

A new street would run through the campus from Fuller to Ball that would provide easier access to the various departments and relieve some of the traffic congestion from Bradford, which borders the campus to the north. Street construction has been estimated as costing $1.03 million, while another $500,000 would be needed for parking and utility relocation.

Four other sites on the campus’s northeast corner were identified as potential locations for other buildings.

Mihos said if the county filled all 10 expansion areas and built the street, more than half the campus would still be greenspace. The goal of the plan is to purchase properties on the south side of Bradford and then landscape those parcels to provide a buffer for the campus.

The master plan emerged from a space-needs study the county conducted last year and which commissioners approved in January. Mihos said the Fuller campus plays a critical role in defining the county’s ability to deliver long-term services.   

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