Utility plans $15M training center downtown


A number of buildings make up GVSU’s Pew campus in downtown Grand Rapids, including the Richard M. DeVos Center. Photo via fb.com

A utility has received approval to lease land from a university to construct a $15-million corporate training center downtown.

Grand Valley State University said last week that its board of trustees approved the 40-year agreement with Consumers Energy.

At the end of the 40-year agreement, ownership of the building will transfer to GVSU.

The utility will host a groundbreaking ceremony for the building on July 20, and the facility is expected to open late next year.

Integrated Architecture in Grand Rapids is serving as the project’s architect, and a contractor has not been selected yet.

Site selection

Consumers Energy will lease land on the Pew campus adjacent to the university-owned warehouse on Front Avenue SW, which is between the L. William Seidman Center and Steelcase Building.

Roger Morgenstern, senior public information director at Consumers Energy for West Michigan, said the utility wanted to partner with GVSU for the center due to a long-standing working relationship and its location.

“We could have put this center anywhere,” Morgenstern said. “Grand Rapids is our largest electric service area, and Grand Valley is a great university.”

Center programs

The employee development center for Consumers Energy will include employee-led classes and corporate and training courses taught by GVSU faculty.

“This is the next step in our efforts to have the best-trained workforce that we can have,” Morgenstern said. “We have two Consumers Energy-owned facilities in Marshall and West Olive to help train our field workforce, union workforce, and this is seen as training and leadership development for salaried employees.”

The center will feature several training and development programs: new employee orientation, certification programs for engineering employees and leadership development for salaried employees.

At this time, GVSU isn’t planning on housing any programs at the center, Morgenstern said.

He added that If the school wants to use or rent the space for an event, that would be an option. 

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