Ferris State University re-names downtown Federal Building


The Woodbridge N. Ferris Building in downtown Grand Rapids is part of the Kendall College of Art and Design campus. Courtesy Ferris State University

The renovated Federal Building in downtown Grand Rapids is answering to a new name.

The LEED Gold certified building is part of Ferris State University’s Kendall College of Art and Design campus — and will now be officially called the Woodbridge N. Ferris Building in honor of the university’s founder.

FSU’s Board of Trustees approved the name change at its meeting this month.

Ferris said it has invested $28 million in the renovation through public-private partnerships, adding 91,000 square feet of classroom, studio and gallery space.

The building, at 17 Pearl St. NW, received the 2013 Governor's Award for Historic Preservation, granted by Gov. Rick Snyder.

Woodbridge Ferris originally founded the college as Big Rapids Industrial School in September of 1884, before its name was changed to Ferris Industrial School in 1885, and eventually re-named Ferris State University in 1987.

FSU President David Eisler said renaming the building after Ferris is a mark of the growing relationship between the school and West Michigan.

“Given the success of this marvelous partnership and understanding the importance of the history and tradition of our institutions, naming the historic Federal Building for the founder of our university is a great symbol of our commitments to the city of Grand Rapids and West Michigan generally,” he said.

Other FSU board approvals

The FSU board also voted to extend Eisler's contract for one year once his annual assessment is completed, extending it through June 30, 2018.

The board increased Eisler's salary 2.25 percent, which is consistent with the yearly increases for other administrative personnel.

“The board feels very fortunate to have a relationship with a president so dedicated to the success of Ferris State University,” said Board Chair Gary Granger. “We also feel fortunate that we have a long-term relationship that will continue for many years to come. The board fully supports Dave’s leadership.”

To complete the University Center project, the board approved the issuing of bonds for an amount that will not exceed $13 million.

The board approved a new associate of applied science in marketing degree, which will serve as a ladder for students looking to continue in the bachelor of science in marketing program.

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