Ferris-Magazine-Fall-2013 - page 38

erris State University’s Kendall College of Art and Design
has merged with the Urban Institute for Contemporary
Arts, Michigan’s largest venue devoted to contemporary art,
continuing Kendall’s expansion in downtown Grand Rapids.
With the merger, the UICA is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of
Kendall. The UICA’s new five-story structure, which is home to
the city’s only downtown film theater, is just a block from Kendall’s
main building.
When Kendall became a part of Ferris in 2000, it had a single
building, about 500 students, and a budget of $4 million. Today,
Kendall has three buildings for instruction, exhibition and
administration, enrolls more than 1,400 students, and has a budget
in excess of $19 million. Enrollment growth has made physical
expansion necessary, and that expanded campus has been made
possible by some innovative partnerships.
The Kendall/UICA merger extends the Kendall campus, maintaining
the momentum of the dedication this past summer of the Woodbridge
N. Ferris building (formerly the historic Grand Rapids Federal
Building), which was completely renovated thanks to a public-private
partnership. Key partners included the City of Grand Rapids, the
Michigan State Historic Preservation Office, Michigan Economic
Development Corporation, the National Park Service, project
developer and construction manager The Christman Company,
architectural firm record Tower Pinkster, historic preservation
consultants Hopkins Burns Design Studio, and interiors and furniture
designers Via Design.
A public-private partnership also made possible the construction of
new housing opportunities for Kendall students. From 2004 to 2008,
Ferris/Kendall partner Rockford Construction renovated in phases
what became The Lofts at 5 Lyon into student apartments, which
created three contiguous blocks of educational and living space for
young artists and designers. The merger with UICA gives Kendall
students the opportunity to live, study and gain career experience all
within a five-block radius of downtown Grand Rapids.
“We have been fortunate to have partners who recognize the
importance of Kendall College of Art and Design to the vitality of the
City of Grand Rapids, and to West Michigan generally,” said Ferris
President David Eisler. “Kendall is a leader in product and design
innovation, and that innovation is helping to fuel the resurgence of
the area economy.”
Kendall College of Art and Design Grows its Urban Campus
Partnerships and mergers give fast-growing Kendall the room it needs
By Marc Sheehan
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