A university has broken ground on a roughly $15.5-million facility in the area for its business college.
Davenport University officials and guests gathered last week to celebrate the groundbreaking for the Donald W. Maine College of Business building at its W.A. Lettinga Campus in Caledonia, at 6191 Kraft Ave. SE.
The ceremony featured remarks from various school officials: Donald W. Maine, chancellor emeritus; Richard Pappas, president of DU; Frank Merlotti, chair of DU’s Board of Trustees; and Pamela Imperato, dean of the College of Business and College of Technology.
Peg Luy, EVP of alumni and development at DU, said having a Michigan blue sky and 72-degree weather on the day enhanced what was already going to be a great day.
“We had about 225 friends and guests join us for the groundbreaking ceremony — it was spectacular,” Luy said. “When you can provide a facility for your students and faculty that is only going to enhance the excellent business education that you can get at Davenport and further our role at the university . . . when you can combine that with honoring a man like Don Maine, it is just a fantastic combination.”
Integrated Architecture in Grand Rapids is serving as the project's architect.
Grand Rapids-based Rockford Construction is the contractor on the project.
College of Business building
Construction on the three story, 60,000-square-foot Donald W. Maine College of Business building should be completed by next December, according to Luy.
“Its design is unique,” Luy said. “It is meant to reflect the corporate business environment our students will find themselves in time as they graduate from Davenport. It has been crafted and designed with the input of faculty and business students.”
The College of Business building will feature a number of elements: more than 20 classrooms; a central hub for students to study and interact; an open-office environment for faculty members; and a capacity to house up to three companies in the business accelerator program within the Center for Entrepreneurship, according to DU's “Investing in the Vision” campaign.
With other institutions and partners in the region providing incubator programs, Luy said DU worked hard not to duplicate the same approach and will focus on entrepreneurs who have been in business for three to five years.
“Our entrepreneurship center is designed to help them go forward with that additional expansion,” Luy said. “One of the other things we will focus on is we will also be supporting veterans, women as entrepreneurs, which is an unmet need, and first-generation entrepreneurs.”
Opening space elsewhere
“As we move into the facility when it is completed, it continues to allow Davenport to grow other programs in technology and health care,” Luy said. “It will open up space in our Richard DeVos and Jay Van Andel Academic Center. It is growth all across the board.”
The Donald W. Maine College of Business building is one of the three pillars of DU’s “Investing in the Vision Campaign,” which is a roughly $25-million campaign supporting three initiatives as the university transitions from its “Vision 2015” to “Vision 2020” plan.
The other two pillars of the $25-million campaign are $5.5 million to fund programming in the College of Urban Education and the expansion of the college's endowed scholarship fund by nearly $4 million.