WMU News

New WMU Grand Rapids center expands opportunities

Aug. 1, 2001

KALAMAZOO -- Western Michigan University, one of the nation's top-100 public universities, has opened a second facility in Grand Rapids, significantly expanding the academic programs and conferencing services available to area residents.

The new facility, the Graduate Center-Downtown, opened for business this past spring in a newly renovated 77,000-square-foot building at 200 Ionia Ave. at the intersection of Cherry St.

WMU-Grand Rapids also includes the 11-year-old Graduate Center-Beltline, another full-service instructional building at 2333 E. Beltline S.E. Together, the two facilities bring metro Grand Rapids residents some two dozen graduate and undergraduate degree and certificate programs as well as non-credit workshops and professional development programs.

"Our downtown center is housed in a renovated historic building in Grand Rapids' trendy arena district, providing an upscale urban setting in which to learn," says Dr. James L. Schultz, WMU regional director-Grand Rapids. "Contemporary detailing and furnishings complement the exposed brick and beam construction, and classrooms are equipped to have the look and feel of a modern conference facility."

Schultz, adds that the new space will provide even greater local access to WMU's nationally recognized faculty and academic programs.

"WMU students taking courses at our centers are taught by the same talented, experienced professors who have helped WMU earn distinction as one of America's top-100 universities," he says. "We have several full-time faculty members in residence at both the downtown and Beltline facilities, as well as another 100 who regularly travel to Grand Rapids each semester to teach courses in their specialties."

WMU is classified by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching as one of the nation's Doctoral/Research Universities-Extensive. It is one of only 102 public universities placed in this top category. WMU also has been named one of the nation's top-100 public universities in

U.S. News & World Report's annual rankings of American colleges and universities.

As part of its recent expansion in Grand Rapids, Schultz says WMU's master of business administration degree and master of arts degree in counselor education and counseling psychology, two of the University's largest academic programs, have relocated from the Beltline campus to the downtown building. Other downtown offerings available include the master of arts degree in human

resources development and two popular doctor of education degrees, one in career and technical education and one in educational leadership.

Schultz adds that a special feature of the facility on Ionia is the large amount of space devoted to housing the Center for Counseling and Psychological Services, a complete counseling clinic and training facility run by WMU that provides accredited, supervised practica experiences.

"This will help master's students in our counseling program meet a variety of licensing and certification requirements," he says, "because they'll obtain practical experience with real clients in a community clinic setting-all under professional supervision and under one roof."

Additionally, Schultz notes that the Graduate Center-Downtown puts valuable conferencing services within easy reach of area businesses.

Sophisticated audio-visual capabilities and extensive computing resources are available throughout the facility. It also features 20 meeting rooms, including a 3,900-square-foot Grand Hall that can seat more than 400 guests for dinner, and the Commons, which is a distinctive setting for social engagements such as wedding receptions and retirement dinners as well as fund-raising and other gala events.

The building is wired for easy Internet access and even supports a Cyber Café so students can check e-mail, do research via the Web and work on group projects while enjoying deli foods provided by Grand Rapids' own Bistro Bella Vita.

WMU has provided local courses and direct service to Grand Rapids residents since 1909 and operated an instructional facility in the city since 1965. In 1990, the University made a substantial new commitment to Grand Rapids by purchasing, renovating and opening the Beltline facility.

That center also offers conference planners and adult students a convenient, comfortable and professional environment. The three-story, 40,000-square-foot-facility features 21 classrooms, two computer labs and a state-of-the-art interactive, compressed video conference room, as well as satellite downlink connections and computer resources ranging from Internet access to online library services.

The building, located on an attractive wooded lot, serves as an executive-class conference center during daytime hours, offering complete catering, meeting planning and audio-visual services with the aid of an in-house conference management team.

Through its downtown and Beltline facilities, WMU-Grand Rapids brings the expertise and resources of a major student-centered research university to the Furniture City. Geared toward offering graduate-level study, it provides a wide variety of degree and professional programs to about 2,000 students each semester in response to community needs.

For more information about WMU-Grand Rapids, call Schultz at (616) 771-9470.

Media contact: Jeanne Baron, 616 387-8400, jeanne.baron@wmich.edu

Office of University Relations
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5433 USA
616 387-8400