Grand Rapids Community College – Lakeshore Campus

  • area / size 52,000 sqft
  • Completed 2021
  • GMB Architecture + Engineering designed the Lakeshore Campus for Grand Rapids Community College in Holland, Michigan.

    Grand Rapids Community College has offered classes on the Lakeshore of West Michigan, across four disparate locations, for more than 20 years. In August 2021, the college celebrated the transformation of a former JCPenney department store into a vibrant learning hub for students with the grand opening of a new, centralized campus in The Shops at Westshore mall.

    Transitioning a “big box” environment into a college campus is no small feat, but one that is particularly ripe for opportunity when we consider the needs of educational institutions and the ability to adapt today’s underutilized retail space.

    The new GRCC Lakeshore campus creates new identity, access, and integration for the full range of its academic programs. It does so with the sustainable and affordable reuse of existing retail space. It leverages the remaining retail of the mall as its “third space” neighbors, giving students a robust atmosphere for fun and continued engagement. And it renews the role of the mall as a truly active, mixed-use anchor in the Holland Lakeshore community.

    The vast interior space was not only converted into labs and classrooms, but the exterior of the building was completely transformed by carving away exterior brick to allow for natural daylight to enter the vast space, establishing a modern, welcoming presence while saving as much of the existing building shell as possible to keep the project in budget. Additionally, the building will be LEED certified as part of GRCC’s sustainability goals.

    One consolidated campus creates synergy and collaboration across programs that are physically co-located and establishes a robust learning facility. This unique community asset makes education more accessible to all residents in the Lakeshore community of Holland.

    Design: GMB Architecture + Engineering
    Photography: Jason Keen