Construction is underway on Grand Valley State University's health campus in downtown Grand Rapids.
The new building will be named the "Raleigh J. Finkelstein Hall.” School leaders broke ground during the afternoon Tuesday, Nov. 22, at the site at Lafayette Avenue and Hastings Street.
GVSU already has the Cook-DeVos Center for Health Sciences on Medical Mile, but more than 5,000 students are enrolled in G-V-S-U health courses and the Cook-Devos Center is over capacity.
GVSU budgeted more than $37 million for the five-story building. The school will spend $9 million on an adjacent parking garage.
Who is Raleigh J. Finkelstein?
When you look around town, you see names on buildings: DeVos, VanAndel, Meijer, Secchia, Cook and Wege.
But you've never seen Raleigh J. Finkelstein.
Over the years, Finkelstein and his family have created a successful company. In 1946, it started as a men’s clothing store. In 1962, it became a sporting goods company called MC Sports.
"It's 70 stores," Finkelstein said. "In Michigan, Indiana, Kansas, Iowa, all over the Midwest."
The family has since sold the chain, but continues to live and do business in the Grand Rapids area.
"The people in the Grand Rapids area, they made it happen for us," he said. "I would like to give back to the community."
This is the first time you'll see the Finkelstein name on a building. At 83 years old, Finkelstein thought it was time. He'll help fund the expansion of GVSU's health campus.
"As far as I was concerned that was the ideal choice," he said. "I'm interested in education, and at my age right now, I want to know who's taking care of me."
The expansion will allow GVSU to train more nursing and health professionals. Right now, the programs are maxed-out.
"Obviously, I'm going to be here and I want the best care for myself and my family," Finkelstein said.
Finkelstein says it's about helping the city he grew up in, but it’s also lasting tribute to the work he and his family have done for the community.
Construction is expected to be completed in May 2018.