Board of Trustees approves campus Master Plan update
New members also welcomed after gubernatorial appointments
The Grand Valley State University Board of Trustees approved the university’s Master Plan at its February 24 meeting at the Pew Grand Rapids Campus. Trustees heard the plan is designed to embrace technology and create an environment for diverse learners and advance equity.
The plan envisions a more cohesive footprint at the Pew Grand Rapids Campus, providing more greenspace with a “campus quad” near the Seidman Center, a student center/dining hall and a new Center for Talent, Technology & Transformation known as Blue Dot, among other improvements.
“The approval of the campus Master Plan does not represent a commitment of capital, but does help focus the vision and anticipated capital projects for Grand Valley campuses and aligns them to support Reach Higher 2025,” said Trustee Elizabeth Emmitt. “It is exciting to imagine how the campuses will evolve and think about the impact on our community.”
Blue Dot would serve as a keystone component of a planned renovation and expansion of the Eberhard Center, which is located adjacent to the Grand River in downtown Grand Rapids.
In Allendale, the plan shows a more pedestrian friendly layout with more modern living centers, a renovated and expanded Kirkhof Center and continued improvements of athletics facilities.
One major idea includes converting Campus Drive to focus on pedestrian and bus traffic while diverting most traffic to Laker Drive.
The plan also calls for the phased replacement of Kistler, Copeland and Robinson living centers, which are the original living centers from the 1960s, with more modern facilities.
At the Health Campus in Grand Rapids, plans call for adapting and renovating classrooms and other areas for new technologies and to better accommodate nursing and health sciences curriculum.
The board also heard a presentation from Director of Public Safety and Chief of Police Brandon DeHaan about safety measures and planning on campus in the wake of the shootings at Michigan State University.
The presentation followed a February 23 campus safety briefing DeHaan hosted with President Philomena V. Mantella and Sgt. William O’Donnell, Grand Valley’s emergency manager.
In other board action:
- Jesse Bernal, chief of staff to the president and vice president for Inclusion and Equity, said Grand Valley is leading Michigan in advancing diversity and inclusion.Bernal presented highlights from the Division of Inclusion and Equity's annual report, stating Grand Valley's graduation rates for students of color and underrepresented students surpass rates of those cohorts at other Michigan public universities. Bernal said equity gaps on campus are closing due, in part, to the coordinated approach to inclusion and equity adopted in 2015.
- Trustees approved the reauthorization of four public charter school academies, Chandler Woods Charter Academy, in Belmont; East Arbor Charter Academy, in Ypsilanti; and two Michigan Mathematics and Science Academy locations in Warren. Trustees also approved appointment or reappointment of charter school board members.
- Trustees welcomed the return of Shelley Padnos and the new appointment of Ronald Hall to the board. Padnos, an attorney and the current executive vice president of PADNOS, a company known for its innovative recycling process, previously served on the board from 2007-2014. Hall, a Southeast Michigan business leader and attorney, is new to the board. Both were appointed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to eight-year terms beginning February 2.