- Sponsorship -

GRCC reopening Ford Fieldhouse, showcasing $8 million in upgrades

Days before the start of second semester, volleyball players Dani Johnston, Jamie Wellet and Jasmine Wellet, stopped in to see the newly renovated Ford Fieldhouse, which hosts the team’s home games and other athletic events.

While finishing touches were still under way on the $8 million in upgrades, the athletes checked out the new entrance area, outfitted with new student study areas and concessions. In the gymnasium, they admired the shiny, refinished floor.

Assistant cross-country coach Sharon Becker said the renovated GRCC health club will allow her runners great cross-training opportunities

Throughout the facility, photos of athletes, current and dating back decades, decorated the walls. “It shows how much they care about athletics and the work we put in and what l and the other athletes put in,” said Johnston, a freshman.

“It’s really nice to have a really good facility to train in,” added team member Jamie Wellet, also a freshman.

Grand Rapids Community College officials say upgrading the fieldhouse, 111 Lyon St. NE, provides a state-of-the-art facility tfor athletes and students.

“There’s a lot of pride in this building,” said GRCC Communications Director Dave Murray. The goal is to grow teams and bring more people in for athletic events, games and other gatherings. “It’s a gateway to the community.”

GRCC sophomore Kailey Mason looks through one of her new textbooks for the semester inside the Ford Fieldhouse

The building, first operated by the community college in 1976, has hosted countless athletic events, commencements, circuses and even presidential visits.

Renovations, funded through district savings, also include new fitness equipment in the health club, new lockers and three new classrooms for the school’s exercise science department. The lower-level health club is open to the public for $225 per year.

GRCC Athletic Director Bill Firn said the fieldhouse has multifunctional appeal. “It’s a place where they can get excited… we are proud of the facility and want to bring in student athletes from around the state.” The school’s athletic teams include men’s and women’s basketball, women’s softball, men’s golf, women’s volleyball and men’s and women’s cross-country.

Fordhouse decor integrated history with the future

Men’s basketball Coach Dave Glazier said the upgrades make for a “wonderful transformation of an already great facility.” He said it will attract athletes to attend GRCC and play for its teams. “It’s an easy sell,”he said.

In terms of academics, Jodi Gee, exercise science department chair, said space is much more accommodating to learning and activity. The program includes several degrees and partnerships. “I love the community feel. Students can sit and study together and have a conversation,” she said of the entrance area.

Gee said she is also looking forward to the opportunity to teach in spacious classrooms with natural lighting, with easy access to all the fitness equipment they need. “The more active you are, the better you do academically,” she said.

- Sponsorship -
Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese has worked as a journalist in the Grand Rapids area since 2000. A graduate of Central Michigan University, she has written for The Grand Rapids Press, Advance Newspapers and On-the-Town Magazine. She has been covering the many exciting facets of K-12 public education for School News Network since 2013. Read Erin's full bio or email Erin.


The year of learning differently

SNN asked a sampling of students from across the county how it’s going for them so far in a school year of multiple instruction models...

‘I want it to look happy’

With help from generous donors, elementary teachers worked to make welcoming, kid-friendly space while following the rules of social distancing and sanitation...

New VP says ‘It feels like joining a family’

Aaron Romoslawski is the new vice principal of Sparta High School. He takes over for Stacey Rumsey, who was named Sparta High School principal last spring...

The changing of guard – as long-time educator and AD welcomes a new one

Godwin Heights Football Coach Brandon Kimble will take over as the district’s athletic director when Robert Hisey, dean of students and athletic director, officially retires Nov. 2...


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related Articles

Essential workers can attend GRCC free

They spent the two months of the stay-at-home order working in hospitals, grocery stores and public safety. Now they will be able to attend Grand Rapids Community College for free...

Rockford company supports GRCC program, provides boots

Rockford-based footwear company Wolverine is joining forces with the band Metallica to support GRCC students with funds for a workforce training program...

Staff, students join forces to combat food insecurity

Staff members have noticed an uptick in student need since the beginning of the pandemic, and are working hard to make sure students are fed...
- Sponsorship -


Engagement: The Most Important Measure of Student Success

Polls find that students’ engagement in their school work declines as they ascend the grades. Tests that don’t relate to their real-life experiences exacerbate the problem...


Food ‘angels’ support hungry kids through pandemic

They work all across Kent County, guardian angels with peanut butter on their hands and crumbs on their shirtsleeves...
- Sponsorship -


Maranda Where You LiveWGVU