WMU's Beltline students moving downtown during building renovation

Contact: Cheryl Roland
Graphic depicting plans for renovations to the WMU-Beltline computer lounge.

Artist's rendering of the WMU Graduate Center-Beltline computer lounge

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—Downtown Grand Rapids will see an influx of Western Michigan University students beginning in January as the University closes its Graduate Center-Beltline location for seven months of extensive renovations.

During the work, some 550 Grand Rapids-area students will take classes at WMU's Graduate Center-Downtown, which is located at 200 Ionia Ave., S.W. The East Beltline location, which has been a WMU facility since 1990, will be closed beginning Saturday, Dec. 13, and will reopen in August in time for the fall 2015 semester.

Creating a 'more productive work environment'

 "The renovations to the Beltline location will provide an enhanced workspace for students as well as opportunity for growth," says Joe Wilson, director of conferences and facilities for WMU-Grand Rapids. "With updated space and accommodations, we're looking forward to creating a more productive work environment for our current students, and increasing future enrollment at our Grand Rapids locations."

The Beltline project includes new classrooms, computer lounge, family restrooms, additional seating, new lighting and modernized furnishings throughout the location. The $5.5 million project is being led by architectural firm Fishbeck, Thompson, Carr & Hubber Inc.

The WMU population will double at the school's downtown location during the renovation. Classes for the spring semester begin Monday, Jan. 12. All classes in Grand Rapids for summer 2015 will also be held at the downtown location.

"We're excited to welcome Beltline students and faculty to the downtown location," says Roxanne Buhl, regional director, WMU-Grand Rapids. "We're certain they will enjoy everything the downtown area has to offer, while local businesses will have the opportunity to serve new customers with the increase of students over the next seven months."

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