College building $15.5M STEM center


A rendering of the interior of the Center for Science and Technology. Photo via

A local college is building a $15.5-million center to advance its STEM programs.

Cornerstone University will break ground tomorrow on its 29,000-square-foot Center of Science in Technology, with plans to finish construction in time for the start of classes for the 2019 spring semester.

The three-story building will be located on the main campus in Grand Rapids, at 1001 E. Beltline Ave. NE, just north of the Hansen Athletic Center.

The school said all the money for the project was raised from private donations. 

STEM programs

The main reasons for the new center are to update the college's science classrooms, add engineering labs and provide the ability for all STEM faculty to be in one space.

The new facility is meant to create conversations about the intersection of faith and science, according to the project’s web page.

The space will allow for Cornerstone to offer additional majors in science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM. In the space, students will learn about various subjects, including environmental issues, medical ethics, innovation and technology design.

The center will serve the majors of chemistry, kinesiology, math, science, pre-dental, pre-medical, pre-veterinary and occupational therapy.

"STEM career opportunities offer outstanding opportunities for employment and career advancement," said Joseph Stowell, president, Cornerstone University. "We are committed to serving the best interests of our students, both present students and prospective students, so offering a robust menu of STEM courses and degrees fulfills that desire.”

Layout and design

The center will mainly be used for classes, labs and STEM faculty offices. 

It will include seven labs, 17 faculty offices, a department office and conference room, a three-story open stairway and various casual collaboration alcoves on all floors. 

It will also feature large windows looking into classrooms and laboratories, and the building architect is using eco-friendly materials where possible.


The center will house one or two staff members, including an office manager and general support staff. There will be no hiring.

There is no one designated as the head of the center. Dr. Shawn Newhouse is the college’s VP for traditional undergrad academics, and Dr. Ned Keller is the science division chair. 

Firms on the project

Progressive AE is heading the architectural and interior design work.

The Christman Company is the project’s contractor.

Cornerstone also said it’s working with PNC bank on the project. 

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