Ferris State University will begin construction of its new Center for Virtual Learning in May after its board of trustees approved the $29.5 million main campus building.
The board of trustees’ approval allows for the university to complete the design, construction phase services, furniture procurement, fixtures and equipment, and other required professional services.
On Dec. 29, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed into law Public Act 257 of 2020 to grant full authorization to proceed with Ferris’ state of Michigan capital outlay project.
The board of trustees also approved a new Bachelor of Science in artificial intelligence in the College of Business.
The Center for Virtual Learning will be the home of the Information Security and Intelligence program, the School of Digital Media, the School of Education and eLearning at Ferris. It will be located next to the FLITE library, at the current site of Vandercook Hall, which will be razed.
“The Center for Virtual Learning represents our commitment to providing students and faculty with state-of-the-art facilities for teaching and learning,” President David Eisler said. “The development and creation of this signature building will change the landscape of Ferris State University and support our students and faculty engaged in these high-demand career fields.”
The virtual learning center also will host Ferris’ esports and cyber competitions.
“The Center for Virtual Learning presents a unique opportunity for Ferris to showcase ourselves as a leader in innovation and technology among our peers in the state of Michigan,” said Bobby Fleischman, provost and vice president for academic affairs. “The CVL brings our information security, artificial intelligence and computer science programs together with education, digital media and esports programming in synergistic ways that will afford our students an opportunity to develop skills engaging technology that will prepare them to enter a dynamic, technologically-driven workforce.”
Construction is expected to be completed in December 2022, and the center will be open in January 2023.