College plans $12M tech center project downtown
A local college will invest more than $12 million to update and expand its 25-year-old technology lab downtown.
Grand Rapids Community College said last week it plans to spend $12,734,500 on renovating and enlarging its Wisner-Bottrall Applied Technology Center, or ATC.
The ATC, at 151 Fountain St. NE, houses GRCC technology labs, including plastics, culinary, machine tool, electronics, maker’s lab, CAD labs, HVAC and more, as well as Ferris State University’s digital animation and game design program and GRCC’s Secchia Institute for Culinary Education.
The college will renovate 20,000 square feet of the existing space used by the computer information systems and manufacturing programs and add another 20,000 square feet.
A project timeline, architect and contractor have yet to be determined.
GRCC President Bill Pink called the project a “win” for all of West Michigan.
“I firmly believe that GRCC must stay relevant to the needs of West Michigan, and the expansion that will be done through these funds will help ensure that we do just that, specifically in the manufacturing and IT sectors,” he said.
Amy Koning, dean of the GRCC School of Workforce Development, said 21.5 percent of the jobs needed in this region are in manufacturing, and 3.9 percent are in information technology, including cybersecurity, networking and software development. She said it is important for GRCC to keep its classrooms current with the latest equipment and tools used in those industries.
“The Applied Technology Center is currently a well-hidden gem in downtown Grand Rapids,” Koning said. “Now we are excited to have the opportunity to upgrade this building to help meet the increasing need for a skilled information technology and manufacturing workforce.”
Governor Rick Snyder signed the state’s 2017-18 budget on July 14, and it included $6,367,250 to pay for half the ATC project.
According to state law, GRCC and its donors must match that amount to pay for the rest.
GRCC and Ferris State University celebrated the 25th anniversary of the ATC in fall 2016. The building is the result of a collaboration between the two institutions and the state, which provided $13 million of the $27-million construction cost at the time.
In 2008, the building was re-named to honor the financial support of Tom and Joyce Wisner and David and Michelle Bottrall.
Grand Rapids Community College was established in 1914.
The college offers degree courses, certification and training programs, workshops and personal enrichment classes.
Classes are held at GRCC’s downtown Grand Rapids campus, at several locations throughout Kent and Ottawa counties and through distance learning.