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Groundbreaking ceremony at Ferris highlights renovation of IRC Page 2

BIG RAPIDS - Members of the Ferris State University community, along with Rockford Construction Company, Inc. and Neumann Smith and Associates, are celebrating the future of education at Ferris with a ground breaking ceremony on Oct. 13 to highlight the renovation and addition to the University's Interdisciplinary Resource Center. The ground breaking begins at 2 p.m., following a 1:30 p.m. reception.

The renovated facility will feature 54,700 square-feet of educational space, with an additional 6,000 square-feet of space included in a connector between the IRC and College of Business. The $8.5 million project is expected to be complete for the start of the fall 2007 academic semester.

"The overarching mission is for the IRC to become an exceptional facility that will foster innovation in teaching and learning, scholarship and engagement, with the ultimate goal of advancing student success and our academic environment," Vice President for Academic Affairs Michael Harris said. "This building will serve to define in a corporeal way, our mission of becoming a learning-centered university through the presence of the Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning on the first floor and through the design elements that foster collaboration, innovation and association."

Once completed, the updated facility will feature state-of-the-art teaching spaces, seminar rooms for individual or group study, along with formal and informal gathering spaces to enhance learning both inside and outside the classroom.

"With state-of-the-art classrooms and the Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning, the IRC will be a wonderful example of the support we provide for our vision of being a learning-centered university," President David L. Eisler said. "It also facilitates continued learning outside of class, something we believe is very important.

"For Big Rapids, this project is a visible example of our continued growth and our vision for the future," Eisler added.

Ferris State University is a four-year public university with campuses in Big Rapids, Grand Rapids and satellite campuses across the state. Ferris offers more than 170 educational programs, including doctorates, master's, bachelor's and associate degrees, through nine academic colleges: Allied Health Sciences, Arts, Sciences and Education, Business, Education and Human Services, the Michigan College of Optometry, Pharmacy, Technology, Kendall College of Art and Design, and the College of Professional and Technological Studies. Ferris also has a University College that provides students with instruction in study skills, reading, career exploration and features an Honors Program. Founded in 1884 by educator, Michigan Governor and United States Senator Woodbridge N. Ferris, the University's mission is to be a national leader in career-oriented, technological and professional education.

Rockford Construction Company, Inc. was founded in 1987 by John Wheeler and Michael VanGessel. Today, Rockford Companies includes Rockford Construction Company, Inc. and Rockford Development Group, L.L.C. Known simply as Rockford, the organization has nearly 200 employees with locations in Grand Rapids, Traverse City and Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas, and is currently licensed in 18 states throughout the nation.