HOLLAND TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — The site of a former JCPenney in Holland Township is set to be the home of Grand Rapids Community College’s new Lakeshore Campus.
“It’s all coming together,” said Dave Murray, GRCC’s communications director. “It’ll be ready for the start of semester for sure.”
Prior to taking over the space at the Shops at Westshore mall, GRCC offered instruction at four different locations in the lakeshore area.
“This is an opportunity to bring all those programs together,” Murray said. “Makes it easier for students because they don’t have to go from one building to another. It also creates a community hub.”
The new Lakeshore Campus will have nine classrooms, four computer labs and five unique labs designated for various types of instruction, including manufacturing jobs.
The centralized campus is going live at a time when GRCC is seeing an increase in attendance.
“We’re seeing an increase of about 6% from 2019 for our summer classes,” Murray said. “That means people are embracing these opportunities that community college is offering.”
The opportunities Murray is talking about are coming in the form of programs created during the pandemic, such as Futures for Frontliners and Michigan Reconnect.
Futures for Frontliners provides essential workers a tuition-free education where they can earn a technical certificate, associate degree or even a bachelor’s degree.
Michigan Reconnect provides Michiganders 25 years and older a tuition-free pathway to a skills certificate or an associate degree.
“We’ve had some people come back who have been gone for more than 10 years,” Murray said. “This is their opportunity to either start fresh or return and pick up where they left off. Gaining those new skills, those new certificates, degrees and continue their education to help their families.
The fall semester will begin on Aug. 30. The college is planning to hold ceremonial events leading up to the first day of classes at the new campus.