Compass College undergoing renovations

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Courtesy Compass College

A local film and media school began an approximately $400,000 renovation project on its new building.

Compass College of Film & Media, at 41 Sheldon Ave. SE in Grand Rapids, is renovating a two-story, 28,000-square-foot building that it recently purchased.

The purchase price was not disclosed.

Compass previously was leasing space in the building with ArtPrize. The college leased 15,000 square feet of the 28,000-square-foot building.

The college shared the theater and the multipurpose room with ArtPrize until the organization moved out of the building at the end of 2020.

“We looked at 27 buildings in the area, but we felt this building, with the 166-seat theater, tall ceilings and plenty of flex space, and highly visible area of the city is where God wanted us to be,” said Compass College President Jay Greer. “Soon after ArtPrize moved, we created a 2,500-plus-square-foot soundstage and green screen stage so our students could get the most professional experience possible.”

Compass began the renovation of its theater space with the purchase of a new movie projector and acoustic treatments, with sound and video systems to follow.

“The theater is a very important component to the learning experience,” said William Kavan, dean of education. “Not only does it serve as a lecture hall, it provides the students with a professional screen setting to view and discuss video work. It’s definitely a ‘wow’ moment when prospective students see the environment they’ll be immersed in.”

In addition to the renovations, Compass also invested in cameras, lighting and sound equipment.

“We purchased new 6K cameras, LED lighting kits and sound equipment that prepares our graduates to walk into their careers with firsthand knowledge of state-of-the-art technology,” Kavan said.

While Compass has been using existing funds to invest in changes to the college, it currently is undertaking a $300,000 fundraising effort. The campaign is focused on personal solicitations to alumni, industry professionals and other granting organizations. The college also would consider naming rights in exchange for donations, such as naming its theater or soundstage after a donor.

The funds will be used to help offset the cost of renovations, acquire new equipment and to help build an endowment that can provide more scholarships.

Compass has not yet chosen a general contractor for the renovation project, but the school is reviewing bids. The goal is for the renovations to be completed this summer.

In addition to the renovation, Compass rebranded itself on Jan. 1. The college changed its name from Compass College of Cinematic Arts to Compass College of Film & Media. It also changed its slogan to “Mission in Motion.”

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