On Tuesday, Grand Valley State University broke ground on a new five-story, 84,000-square-foot expansion of their health campus.

The building, named Raleigh J. Finkelstein Hall, is located at 500 Lafayette. It will include classroom, laboratory and office space for the College of Health Professions and Kirkhof College of Nursing.

There will be four classrooms, 15 teaching laboratories, a computer lab and 90 faculty and staff offices and parking spaces. The project also includes student study spaces, student organization space and work/break rooms.

Finkelstein, the first and lead donor for the building, said he is excited about what this means for the future of Grand Rapids and the region where he grew up.

“We have the finest health care here, not necessarily the biggest, but definitely the finest," Finkelstein said. "Grand Valley plays an important part in that quality, and we need more talented Grand Valley graduates caring for our families.”

Born and raised on Grand Rapids’ east side, Finkelstein grew MC Sporting Goods into the largest retail operation of its kind in the Midwest before selling.

During the groundbreaking ceremony, Grand Valley President Thomas J. Haas gave welcoming remarks, "As the leading provider of health care professionals in West Michigan, we need additional and enhanced laboratory, classroom and collaborative workspaces so that we can continue to attract highly talented students, faculty and caregivers to our region," Haas said.

With more than 5,000 students enrolled in Grand Valley's highly competitive health-related courses, the Cook-DeVos Center for Health Sciences, which opened in 2003 on Grand Rapids' Medical Mile, has been over-capacity for the last four years.

Provost Gayle R. Davis said the expansion will allow for additional programming and accommodate more students to meet the increasing demand for Grand Valley graduates in the university's 19 health professions and nursing programs.

"We will be able to add new health sciences programs as they become needed by our regional and statewide health care providers," said Davis. "Expanding our classroom and laboratory facilities will create more opportunities for students to attain the foundation they need prior to their clinical experiences."

The budget, $37.5 million for the building project and $9 million for the parking project, is being funded by donor support, university-issued bonds and campus development funds.

Fishbeck, Thompson, Carr and Huber is the project architect and Rockford Construction Company is the construction manager.

Construction is expected to be completed in May 2018.

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