$5.5 million renovation unveiled at WMU-Grand Rapids Beltline location

contact: Cheryl Roland
| WMU News
Photo of renovated space at the WMU-Grand Rapids Beltline regional location.

Renovations included new classrooms, a computer lounge and modernized furnishings.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—Western Michigan University officials, along with Third Ward City Commissioner Senita Lenear, reopened the WMU-Grand Rapids Beltline facility Aug. 20, following a $5.5 million renovation project.

"Reopening WMU's Beltline location will contribute to the city's economic and educational footprint by expanding our already exceptional education repertoire," said Senita Lenear, Third Ward city commissioner. "This facility will act as another hub for talent in our city that we hope to retain and grow into the future business leaders of Grand Rapids."

The 40,000-square-foot building contains state-of-the-art spaces for students and the community including a Collaboration Zone, Innovation Lounge and a 200-seat conference center called the Woodland Suites.

"Research has shown many ways we can improve the way we are educating students," said Dawn Gaymer, associate provost for Extended University Programs. "New technology has changed the way we can think about education—in the classroom and beyond."

Photo of renovated space at the WMU-Grand Rapids Beltline regional location.

Artwork in a hallway at WMU-Grand Rapids Beltline

The project was led by architectural firm Fishbeck, Thompson, Carr & Hubber, Inc. in collaboration with Beckering Construction, a Grand Rapids based contractor. Additions include new classrooms, computer lounge, family restrooms, additional seating, new lighting and modernized furnishings throughout the Beltline location.

"Groups like the Grand Rapids Inventor's Network have already recognized these improvements and are signing up to hold their monthly meetings here starting in September," said Dr. Timothy Greene, provost and vice president for academic affairs at Western Michigan University. "Spaces have been developed to increase collaboration, not only in the classroom, but in the community."

The Bronco art gracing the building interior came from two sources. Kim Nelson, director of university creative services, developed and adapted her flaming Bronco design to the needs of the venue.

Additionally, elements from the 2011 work "The Epic Broncos" by North Carolina artist Revere LaNoue can be found in the building. That work was originally part of a two-story wrap that covered two sides of the WMU-Grand Rapids downtown facility for 2011 Art Prize.

About WMU-Grand Rapids

WMU also has a facility in downtown Grand Rapids. Between the two Grand Rapids locations, WMU offers more than 20 graduate degree programs to nearly 1000 area students. WMU-Grand Rapids comprises the largest regional location for the university and has provided higher education opportunities to the Grand Rapids metropolitan community since 1909.

For more news, arts and events, visit wmich.edu/news.