GVSU launches $10M capital campaign for new medical ed facility

Grand Valley State University’s planned Health Campus — dubbed the Raleigh J. Finkelstein Hall after the capital campaign’s lead donor — is expected to help the institution expand its growing medical curriculum. Scheduled to open in the spring of 2018, the $37.5 million facility will be located in Grand Rapids’ Belknap neighborhood.

GRAND RAPIDS — Grand Valley State University seeks to raise $10 million through a capital campaign to coincide with the construction of a $37.5 million academic center along the Medical Mile.

The capital campaign supports development of the Raleigh J. Finkelstein Hall, named in recognition of the Grand Rapids businessman who owned MC Sporting Goods and provided the lead gift to the project.

The “significant” contribution from Finkelstein, a new benefactor who until now had not donated to GVSU, provides early momentum to the capital campaign, said Karen Loth, the university’s vice president for development.

“Anytime someone new steps up and sees the good work and sees a project that they feel an affinity for and they want to support, that gets everyone excited,” Loth said. “That really is definitely a help, seeing someone step up who is new and values the impact that the university is having on our community and our region.”

GVSU hosted a ceremonial groundbreaking last week for the five-story, 84,000-square-foot Finkelstein Hall that will rise at Lafayette Avenue and Hastings Street, north of and across I-196 from the university’s Cook-DeVos Center for Health Sciences. Targeted for completion in May 2018, Finkelstein Hall will provide added capacity for the GVSU College of Health Sciences and Kirkhof College of Nursing.

Finkelstein Hall will consist of four classrooms, 15 teaching laboratories, a computer lab and office space to support the College of Health Professions and the Kirkhof College of Nursing. The project includes a $9 million, two-level parking deck.

Fishbeck, Thompson, Carr & Huber Inc. is serving as the architect for the project, the construction manager for which is Rockford Construction Co. Inc.

GVSU wants to wrap up the capital campaign by the end of 2017 or early 2018, in time for the opening of Finkelstein Hall, Loth said. Given the increased capacity the center will create to train health care professionals, she’s confident the capital campaign will meet its goal.

“We feel it’s certainly a project that the community will embrace because of what we’re going to produce out of this: the health care professionals of this region,” said Loth, who notes that nearly 85 percent of all GVSU graduates are employed in Michigan.

“We have outstripped our capacity to bring in more students. We are turning away some phenomenally qualified young people who want to come to Grand Valley and take our programs. There’s just literally no room for them,” she said. “We have this health talent pipeline that we feel that we are eminently qualified to produce, but that space is a critical part of that and we don’t have it.”

The university presently has about 5,000 students enrolled in health care-related courses. That includes about 1,600 nursing majors and 2,300 students majoring in a health profession, plus another 1,100 students enrolled in courses that could lead to a health-related major.

GVSU develops Finkelstein Hall for its health care and nursing programs as the demand for health care professionals grows with an aging population.

The HealthCheck report issued annually by the university’s Seidman College of Business projects strong demand for several medical professions. GVSU, for instance, projects 11.4 percent growth from 2012 to 2022 in employment for registered nurses.

In other professions, physical therapist jobs will grow a projected 22.6 percent over the 10-year period and occupational therapist jobs will increase 18 percent, according to the 2016 HealthCheck report. Employment for home health aides will grow nearly 33 percent.

As GVSU pursues contributions to support Finkelstein Hall’s development, it will reach out to past benefactors, potential new donors, and “those who have a very strong affinity for the cause of bringing new health care professionals out into the community,” Loth said.

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