Grand Valley State University will break ground Wednesday, May 25 for the new $40 million L. William Seidman Center, which will house its Seidman College of Business and the Michigan Small Business and Technology Development Center.

The center is named for Bill Seidman, founding chair of Grand Valley State University’s Board of Trustees and former FDIC chair.

Grand Valley will break ground at the site at 38 Front Ave. in downtown Grand Rapids  May 25 beginning at 5:30 p.m. Remarks begin at 6:15 p.m.

Participants will include Rich DeVos, lead donor and general chairman of the Grand Valley University Foundation. The philanthropist and founder of Amway first publicly broached the idea for this building during the memorial tribute to Bill Seidman on Grand Valley’s campus two years ago.

Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell will also be in attendance.

“The city commissioners and I were unanimous in our support for this project, which will mean so much to our beautiful riverfront and to the economy of the west side,” said Heartwell. “Grand Valley has made a significant impact on our city with $200 million spent on the Pew Grand Rapids Campus facilities in the past 20 years.”

More than $680 million is pumped into West Michigan communities because of the university’s activities. Grand Valley created 700 trade and construction jobs and pumped $32 million into the economy because of construction projects in 2010. More than 10,200 permanent off-campus jobs in the region exist due to the presence of Grand Valley’s campuses in those communities. Construction of the Seidman Center will be a major investment in the downtown Grand Rapids area, totaling $40 million in land acquisition, site preparation, construction and infrastructure improvement costs.
Grand Valley President Thomas J. Haas has noted that during this year of celebration for the university’s 50th anniversary, the private-public partnership that Seidman spearheaded to found Grand Valley is a cornerstone of Grand Valley’s relationship with the region.

“The success of this project is a reflection on the generosity of this community and the attractiveness of Bill Seidman’s original vision for Grand Valley and for the business school,” said Haas.

The Seidman College of Business has grown from 145 students to more than 3,300 over its 40-year history. The college offers an accelerated, full-time, integrated Master of Business program that has an innovative curriculum, a paid fellowship, international experience and a stint in Washington, D.C. The college has given Grand Valley international standing as one of only 173 schools of business worldwide that have a dual accreditation in both business and accounting.

The designer for the project is Robert A. Stern Architects, LLP, an internationally recognized firm known for attention to detail and a commitment to design quality. Local firms Integrated Architecture and Pioneer Construction will be part of the project.

The building will be Grand Valley’s 16th LEED-certified building.


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