Construction firm preps for $60M summer


A $15-million upgrade to Western Theological Seminary’s library will begin this summer and include demolition of an existing library tower and part of the existing seminary to make room for a new learning center. Rendering courtesy Elzinga & Volkers

Elzinga & Volkers Inc. is riding a wave of expansion projects this summer.

The Holland-based construction company announced this month that more than $60 million worth of new projects are set to start this summer.

Elzinga & Volkers is set to embark on projects with Siliconature, Western Theological Seminary, Mercy Health Saint Mary’s, deBoer Bakkerij, Baudville Brands and Mercy Hospital, which will help carry the company through 2018, said John Parker, Elzinga & Volkers vice president of project development.

The projects mostly are with companies expanding their current operations, furthering a trend in the West Michigan economy, said Mike Novakoski, Elzinga & Volkers president and CEO.

“The construction industry generally sees an increase of projects in spring and summer, but many of these are a result of individual company growth,” Novakoski said. “As companies succeed and expand, they look to update their existing facilities and add space to accommodate that growth. We take great pride in being a part of thriving communities in West Michigan.”

While the projects stretch across industries, Parker said the health care projects continue to be a strong area of activity for Elzinga & Volkers. He said health care always has been a strong base of clients for the company, especially as West Michigan hospitals ratchet up their care options.

Elzinga & Volkers started a multi-phase project at Mercy Health Saint Mary’s, including demolition and rebuild of the ninth floor. The project includes a new waiting area, 18 post-partum rooms, six post-partum/flex rooms, 10 new labor and delivery rooms, two operating rooms, four triage rooms, special care nursery and staff support areas.

At Mercy Hospital in Muskegon, Elzinga & Volkers provides general trade work on the hospital’s renovation and 11-story addition.

“The hospital systems are still expanding and trying to be competitive, which is causing them to invest,” Parker said. “They’re upgrading older spaces to be more advanced and competitive. As health care consumers, we all have a choice of where to go, and our clients are trying to appeal to as many as they can.”

At Western Theological Seminary, a $15-million upgrade to the library is set to begin this summer and finish by fall 2018. The project will include demolition of an existing library tower and part of the existing seminary to make room for a new learning center.

Parker said it’s following a larger educational trend of upgrading libraries to cater to a modern student and will feature more collaborative work environments and technology and a more condense book storage.

“They’re reacting to changes in the way students learn,” Parker said. “In an effort to attract the next generation of students, they’re creating a more contemporary learning center.”

Outside of health care, Parker said manufacturing has seen the biggest uptick in activity. With little to no vacant industrial buildings in the West Michigan area, companies are adding new space to existing buildings or building new.

Elzinga & Volkers is working on the multimillion-dollar, 150,000-square-foot building in Gaines Township for Siliconature, an Italian maker of silicone films.

The construction company also is renovating 20,000 square feet and adding 9,000 square feet to an existing building for Baudville Brands in Grand Rapids, as well as a complete renovation and addition of more than 2,000 square feet for the Holland bakery deBoer Bakkerij.

“It’s one of the strongest markets, much more activity just because of improved economic situations,” Parker said. “There are very few projects where someone is moving into existing space and modifying it; there’s just not a lot of existing space to modify.”

The current projects and a deep backlog should keep Elzinga & Volkers busy, leaving Parker cautiously optimistic.

“We’re feeling very positive for the next two years,” Parker said, before offering a bit of wary forecasting. “The labor market is tight, so costs are increasing. We hope the market can level out and pricing levels out, or we could potentially see projects get canceled because it’s too expensive.”

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