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GRCC renovations put student services under one roof

Community celebrates completion of building projects

GRCC  While standing inside the newly renovated Raleigh J. Finkelstein Hall, Angelique Nyarwaka said it’s nice to have a new one-stop enrollment experience on campus.

“I think it’s very helpful for new students,” said the second year GRCC student about several Grand Rapids Community College student services now being housed under one roof. “I have a sister coming from New York and she is going to be coming here. It will be very nice for her to have all of the services in one space.”

Financial aid, enrollment, admissions and student records have now merged on the first floor of Raleigh J. Finkelstein Hall, 143 Bostwick Ave. NE. GRCC recently completed extensive renovations to the 210,000 square-foot building, formerly called the Main Building. 

As well as serving as a hub for student services, the space now features modernized and reconfigured lab space, gathering areas, dining spots and welcoming entrances. The iconic, nearly 100-year-old building was renamed in 2019 in honor of businessman Raleigh J. Finkelstein, a lead donor for the project. Finklestein and his brothers operated MC Sports, which developed from their parents’ company, Michigan Clothiers.

Improved Student Services

Kristi Welling, associate director of enrollment services, said the project has been years in the making.“We have developed a one-stop shop,” she said. ‘It used to be that students would go to different places on campus to get these services. Now it’s all in one place. We’ve really invested in students.”

It’s a way of removing barriers along with meeting students’ needs, she said. 

“When I was younger I was the first in my family to get a degree, and I didn’t know where to go on campus and what to do. We find a lot of the students much like myself who are first in their family to go to college and aren’t really sure of the services available –what they need to do, how they need to do it to get to the part where they are actually getting their degree.”

GRCC and community leaders, including Finkelstein, gathered at Raleigh J. Finkelstein Hall last week for one of four ribbon-cutting ceremonies on the same day. Other completed projects include 

  • A two-story, 18,416 square-foot expansion with a machine tool lab and data center, renovated computer lab and student gathering and study spaces at Wisner-Bottrall Applied Technology Center, 151 Fountain St. NE
  • A historic renovation, preserving wood interior features while creating modern spaces for students, staff and faculty at  Steven C. Ender Hall, 455 E. Fulton St.
  • Renovations including a kitchen, meeting space and areas for receptions and other gatherings at Custer Alumni House, 473 E. Fulton St.

“We are preserving what made these buildings special, but making sure they are able to meet the needs of the students of today and tomorrow,” said GRCC President Bill Pink.

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Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese is associate managing editor and reporter, covering Byron Center, Kentwood, Wyoming and Grand Rapids Community College. She was one of the original SNN staff writers, helping launch the site in 2013 and enjoys fulfilling the mission of sharing the stories of public education. She 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, On-the-Town Magazine and Group Tour Media. Read Erin's full bio

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