GVSU Board OKs Expansion Of Health Campus

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Grand Valley State University's Cook-DeVos Center for Health Sciences just east of downtown Grand Rapids. Photo Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley State University’s Cook-DeVos Center for Health Sciences just east of downtown Grand Rapids. Photo Grand Valley State University

DETROIT (WWJ) – The Grand Valley State University board Friday approved the purchase of 11 acres of land northeast of downtown Grand Rapids to expand the university’s health campus at the east end of Grand Rapids’ “Medical Mile.”

The board met in Detroit at its new Detroit Center near Comerica Park.

The university already owns four acres of property adjacent to its Cook-DeVos Center for Health Sciences at Michigan and Lafayette streets on the Medical Mile. This latest purchase, bordered by Hastings and Trowbridge streets and Clancy and College avenues, provides the university a total of 18 acres to expand health programs and accommodate the growing demand by both students and employers seeking well-trained health professionals.

“This is transformational for our university, for our region and for the future of health care in Michigan,” President Thomas J. Haas said. “This plan is part of our vision and long-term strategy as a key player in health education. We’re obligated to anticipate and produce the health care providers our state needs for the future.”

The College of Health Professions and the Kirkhof College of Nursing currently offer 12 undergraduate and graduate degree programs, including two doctoral programs. There are currently more applicants than some programs can admit. The university needs more laboratories and classrooms to accommodate additional enrollment and for additional health-related academic programs planned to meet future needs.

“Our health programs are at capacity and we need to make more room for students who want to go into these fields,” Gayle R. Davis, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, said. “Grand Valley plans to provide additional health-related academic programs as these fast-moving professional areas develop. This proposal indicates a significant and exciting investment in the future of health care.”

GVSU set a limit of $18.9 million as a price for the property and officials said tuition will not be raised to pay for it. University leadership has been planning and saving for the expansion of health care programs, and the Campus Development Fund will be used to finance the purchase.

Grand Valley will be conducting long-term planning for the site, envisioning what the health campus will look like in the coming decades. The university will work closely with city leaders and neighbors in that process.

“The university has a history of improving areas in which it has campuses, and takes that obligation seriously,” Haas said.

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