Grand Rapids Community College officially opened a new 52,000-square-foot Lakeshore Campus at the former JCPenney store in The Shops at Westshore Mall, 12331 James St. in Holland.
An open house was held Saturday to help potential students with admissions and registration.
The conversion of the department store into the learning facility was a $12 million project that consolidates the classes, resources and programs that have been offered at four different locations throughout Holland for the past 20 years.
“The GRCC Lakeshore Campus reflects a vision of a community college education being accessible to everyone,” President Bill Pink said. “As we walk through this magnificent facility, you will be surprised that it was once a department store. But you will be amazed at how this revitalized space will help people change their lives and make this entire community stronger. We are taking higher education on the lakeshore to a new level.”
The campus has nine classrooms, four computer labs and five labs for biology, chemistry, electronics, automation, welding machine tooling and housing programs for students working toward an associate degree or a career-focused certificate.
It also has spaces for advising and counseling and other student support services, a satellite library and areas for community groups.
GMB Architecture + Engineering designed the project, and construction was directed by The Christman Co. The building will be LEED certified as part of GRCC’s sustainability goals.
The Brooks family, the Community Foundation for the Holland/Zeeland Area, Gentex Corp., GMB Architecture + Engineering, Haworth, Herman Miller, Hudsonville Ice Cream and the Patrick A. Thompson and Family were donors to the project.
“The generous support for this project reflects lakeshore residents recognizing the value of a community college and GRCC’s ability to help students of all ages fulfill their dreams,” said Dr. Kathryn K. Mullins, GRCC’s vice president of advancement and executive director of the GRCC Foundation. “We embrace this community partnership and know it will grow even stronger in the years to come.”