Architecture & Design, Construction, and Education

School designs $1.2M learning center

December 7, 2017
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West Catholic High School hallway lockers
West Catholic High School is located on a 42-acre campus in northwest Grand Rapids. Photo via

A local college preparatory school has repurposed part of its space to maintain flexibility for the future.

West Catholic High School in Grand Rapids, at 1801 Bristol Ave. NW, said yesterday it repurposed six classrooms and a central corridor into its new 7,500-square-foot Academic Learning Center, or ALC.

The new space features a high-volume, open space with multiple learning areas, a small café, technology support desk and school spirit store.

“The environment we’ve created here offers distinct spaces for collaboration, heads-down study, larger gatherings and advanced technology access,” said Cynthia Kneibel, principal, West Catholic. “We also wanted the ALC to be a place that inspires learning and engagement; the large windows, high ceilings, and open layout make it a destination.”

The $1.2-million project was funded through private donations.

Grand Rapids-based Rockford Construction provided contracting services, alongside architect Michael Hofman and interior designer Suzanne Makarewicz of Grand Rapids-based Via Design.

“It’s dynamic in that there are various kinds of space within the overall space,” Hofman said. “We’ve provided space division that our students and other users can control, just by moving a whiteboard or raising and lowering a door. It’s also intended to be truly multi-use. We can host a community forum, a job fair or even a formal dinner.”

West Catholic will host a reception and open house to showcase the new area on Dec. 20 at 9:30 a.m.

West Catholic

West Catholic High School has an enrollment of 513 students.

The school has appeared on The Washington Post’s “Most Challenging High Schools in America” list and been ranked the No. 1 Catholic high school in the Grand Rapids area by Niche, a website that ranks schools and neighborhoods using public data and its "millions of reviews."

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