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Trustees Approve 2021 Campus Master Plan, Funding for Alumni Building Renovation, West Building Demolition


The Ferris State University Board of Trustees approved a new Campus Master Plan, funding to renovate the Alumni Building and raze the adjacent West Building, and more during its virtual meetings hosted on Friday, May 7.

After a May 2020 pause because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Campus Master Plan development resumed in November 2020. The process included 30-plus virtual stakeholder meetings with more than 400 participants, including students, faculty, staff and community members from Big Rapids and Grand Rapids. The updated facilities plan features data analysis and identifies near-and long-term project possibilities and associated priorities. This process, inclusive by nature, was designed to welcome input for this aspect of Ferris’ future.

“After a comprehensive series of meetings with a wide range of stakeholders, we now have a new, Board-approved University Master Plan,” Ferris President David Eisler said. “It outlines anticipated development for our Big Rapids and Grand Rapids campuses. At Ferris, campus master plans are working documents that establish building priorities and guide facility efforts. Our successes in securing capital outlay support in Lansing and ensuring campuses are welcoming places for teaching, learning and living, begin with this document.”

Eisler commended Vice President of Administration and Finance Jim Bachmeier and Associate Vice President for Physical Plant Mike Hughes for their leadership and collaborative work with Neuman/Smith Architecture in updating the facilities Master Plan. In March, the university community had an opportunity to review the plan, which guides the development of Ferris’ capital assets. The plan is also a required component of the university’s annual capital outlay request submission to the state of Michigan.

The trustees further approved $12.5 million for razing the West Building and renovating the Alumni Building. The plan includes identifying new space for the university’s Information Technology Services and resolves capital renewal and deferred maintenance needs for the two buildings. Most of the Alumni Building’s current occupants can be relocated to the future Center for Virtual Learning, expected to be completed in late 2022, and consolidated into areas of the Prakken and Starr buildings, while University Archives will remain on the lower level of the Alumni Building.

In other May 7 action, the trustees approved: 

  • authorization to negotiate and enter into an agreement with a selected vendor for professional services to assist in the search for Ferris State University presidential candidates;
  • authorization to conduct a request for proposal and subsequently enter into an agreement with the selected vendor for marketing services; and
  • 13 appointments or reappointments to the boards of directors of FSU-authorized charter school academies, address changes for Drive One Career Technical High School, in Roseville; and Michigan Collegiate Elementary School, currently in Roseville, to a new-construction location, in Warren; and additional campuses in West Olive and Holland for Lighthouse Academy, of Grand Rapids.

The current trustees are chair Amna P. Seibold, of East Grand Rapids; vice-chair Ana L. Ramirez-Saenz, of Grand Rapids; secretary Rupesh K. Srivastava, of Wixom; member-at-large LaShanda R. Thomas, of Grosse Pointe; George K. Heartwell, of Newaygo; Kurt A. Hofman, of Grand Rapids; Kari L. Sederburg, of East Lansing; and Ronald E. Snead, of Stanwood.

The next regular meeting of the Board of Trustees is Friday, Oct. 8, tentatively scheduled for the Grand Rapids campus. Committee meetings begin at 10 a.m. followed by the full board meeting at 11 a.m.