GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - In an effort to make a commitment to serving the residents of West Michigan's lakeshore communities, Grand Rapids Community College has purchased the former JCPenney at the Westshore Mall to become a consolidated GRCC lakeshore campus.

GRCC's board of trustees unanimously approved the plan Monday for administrators to start the purchasing process. The 50,000-square-foot building in Holland Township is near the intersection of US-31 and James Street and is expected to cost about $2 million.

“GRCC is committed to serving Lakeshore learners of all ages,” board Chairperson David J. Koetje said. “This building’s location and size will provide the opportunity for more people to have access to the programs the GRCC Lakeshore Campus offers, improving and potentially transforming their lives.”

The college enrolled about 1,900 Ottawa County residents this fall. About 700 are taking classes in their four lakeshore locations, which include the Thompson M-TEC, Midtown Center, GVSU's Meijer Campus and West Ottawa High School.

The new lakeshore campus will allow GRCC to consolidate programs and student support services in a larger space, increase employer and educator partnerships and enhance teaching and learning.

Leaders from GRCC will look for input from lakeshore educators and community leaders about what additional programs would be most beneficial.

“This location enhances GRCC Lakeshore campus’s ability to be relative and responsive to our West Michigan communities,” President Bill Pink said. “Our college is uniquely positioned to help learners connect or reconnect with higher education. We’re proud of what we provide at the Lakeshore Campus now, and are excited to think about how we can impact lives there long into the future.”

The college expects to have classes in the building by the fall 2021 semester after renovations are complete.

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