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GVSU requesting state funds for proposed $50M building

Monica Scott/Associated Press • Nov 17, 2018 at 10:00 AM

ALLENDALE — For the second consecutive year, Grand Valley State University is asking state lawmakers to step up and help fund a new $50 million building to serve the computer information systems programs.

"This is a very high-demand program and we need additional classrooms and labs to meet employer demand,'' Matt McLogan, vice president for university relations, recently told the Board of Trustees.

Each year the state requires Michigan colleges and universities to file a comprehensive five-year capital outlay plan and identify their top priority project. The board approved the request for fiscal year 2020.

"With this building, we are thinking about what the future needs are and it wouldn't be a traditional classroom building,'' said Maria Cimitile, provost and executive vice president for academic and student affairs, during the Nov. 2 board meeting.

"This is going to be an innovative place for our students. This building would be something for every single student on campus as well as CIS."

The proposed new academic building would address the need for more classrooms, testing and teaching labs, and offices to accommodate the growth in electronic based information systems. The plan is to locate the building near Kindschi Hall of Science.

"Employers of all kinds want us to produce more,'' McLogan said. "We are maxed out in capacity and need more classrooms, labs, and professors.''

Due to significant investment by employers in computer-based systems, information security has become a priority for the data of companies, hospitals and private industries, according to Grand Valley's major project request.

Officials say information, security and related management employees are in demand and this demand is expected to continue.

The state share of costs to fund university projects has traditionally been based on a 75/25 state, institution match. However, this match has been limited to a maximum state share of $30 million since 2010.

Board Chair Mary Kramer said the market need for these types of programs is huge. She said employers can't find enough people.

"Data analytics and cyber security are the two biggest things I hear in the market place,'' she said.

The state has supported Grand Valley capital request in recent years. The new $70 million health building under construction now on Grand Rapids Medical Mile is receiving $29 million in state funding.

In other board business, Grand Valley released its annual accountability report that tracks more than 40 separate measures of university performance with others in the state.

Here are some highlights:

Ninety-five percent of recent graduates are employed or in graduate school, and 86 percent are working in Michigan.

Grand Valley's tuition remains in the bottom half of Michigan's 15 public universities. The current tuition is $12,484 for a full-time undergraduate Michigan resident. The university receives the second lowest funding per student - $3,151.

The student loan default rate is the fourth lowest among state universities at 3.9 percent.

The 2018-19 financial aid commitment was $52.3 million, up from $47.2 million.

The retention rate for first year students is at 84.5 percent.

Fall enrollment was the fourth highest in the state with 24,677 students, but down from 25,049 students in 2017.

The economic impact of Grand Valley on Kent, Ottawa and Muskegon counties is $849 million.

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