Grand Valley State University President Thomas J. Haas and several members of the Board of Trustees took part in a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the opening of the Detroit Center on May 8.
The ceremony on the front steps of the building also included a dozen students from the Grand Valley-authorized charter school Henry Ford Academy: School for Creative Studies and elected officials from the city.
The GVSU Detroit Center will house classrooms for both the Grand Valley Charter Schools Office and the College of Education. It will also hold the regional offices for the Small Business and Technology Development Center and will serve as a central meeting location for Grand Valley professionals conducting business in southeast Michigan.
"We need to invest in our young people, we need to invest in our businesses," Haas said. "We need to create the talent that's so important to our state, and each region needs that talent. I think that's what we're doing today. We're celebrating a special occasion that will help us educate students and improve our society well into the future."
Located at 163 Madison in downtown Detroit, the historic three-story brick and terra cotta building is a substantial Renaissance revival building with modern tendencies. In 1907, the Detroit architectural firm of Stratton and Baldwin designed the architectural aspects of the building for the headquarters and city exchange of the Home Telephone Company of Detroit. The building was sold to Michigan Mutual Life Insurance Company in 1935, transferred to several other insurance companies, and in 1951 became the home of the Jewish Welfare Federation of Detroit. It was known as the Fred M. Butzel Memorial Building, named after Butzel, a community leader and major contributor to the organization. In February 2013, Grand Valley acquired the building from Barden Companies’ Waycor Development Company.