GRCC OKs buying shuttered Westshore store for new campus

Ottawa County

HOLLAND TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — The shuttered JCPenney at Holland Township’s Shops at Westshore mall may soon be transformed into a new lakeshore college campus.

The GRCC Board of Trustees Monday approved plans to start the process of purchasing the 50,000-square-foot building to consolidate its lakeshore program, which currently administers classes at the Thompson M-TEC, Midtown Center, GVSU’s Meijer campus and West Ottawa High School.

While programs from all four buildings would be transferred to the new building, GRCC President Bill Pink emphasized that the college’s partnership with the Ottawa Area Intermediate School District will remain intact.

GRCC anticipates spending about $2 million to acquire the property near US-31 and James Street. The school pointed out that the building sits near a bus line, making it more accessible for students.

The college says the new campus building will also allow GRCC to consolidate student support services, increase employer and educator partnerships and potentially expand what programs it offers.

GRCC’s lakeshore program, which has been around since 1989, offers courses for students pursuing associate degrees in arts, general studies and industrial maintenance technology. The lakeshore program also offers one-year certificates in welding, industrial maintenance and industrial technology, tooling and manufacturing.

JCPenney announced it was closing its Westshore store in 2017. The store was among 138 locations shuttered as the company tried to improve profitability in the era of online shopping.

If all goes well, GRCC expects to renovate the building and reopen it for classes by the fall 2021 semester.

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