WYOMING — Looking to remake its small-time image, Grace Bible College will get a facelift next year. The school plans a $1.6 million renovation that will rebuild its front entry and expand and modernize the student commons.
Reconfigured parking and new landscaping also are planned at the campus, 1011 Aldon St. SW.
“It’s going to look at lot nicer, more like a real college,” said Ryan Krombeen, a third-year student from Grandville.
Krombeen, 25, is one of the school’s 207 students, up 29 percent since 2007. The growth has come despite the campus’s tired look, said board Chairman Rick Velting.
Started in 1939 in Milwaukee, Grace Bible moved to the Wyoming site in 1961. Buildings have been added over the years, but the center of campus looks much the same today as it did then.
The school has raised about $1 million toward the renovation and plans to start construction in May. First Cos. is the contractor; Dixon Architecture is the architect. Work should be done by mid-August.
Velting, a Grace Bible alumnus, said the project will give the school a bigger image in a region where it ranks among the smallest of colleges.
“We’re looking to lose that distinction,” he said. “We would like to be able to attract more students. You want to be able to compete (with other colleges). We want to take it the next step.”
Along with updating facades and upgrading the parking area, the renovation will add about 3,500 square feet to a breezeway that serves as the school’s front entrance. The expanded entry will lead into a larger student commons with a fireplace, coffee bar and variety of seating areas. Outdoor patios also are planned.
The expansion will improve the school’s appearance and provide a more inviting space for students to hang out, said Steve Hilbrands, vice president for fund development.
“Here we are at 50 years,” he said. “It’s long overdue.”
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AT A GLANCE
Grace Bible College
Location: 1011 Aldon St. SW, northwest of Clyde Park Avenue and 28th Street in Wyoming.
Students: 207, about 80 percent from Michigan and two-thirds from West Michigan.
Alumni: about 1,700
Academic programs: education, business, human services and various faith-based tracks including pastoral studies, youth ministry, intercultural missions and worship arts; online programs for leadership and Christian ministry begin this fall.
Athletic programs: basketball, cross country, soccer, tennis, men’s golf, women’s volleyball; the men’s basketball team has won back-to-back national titles.
Tuition: $14,250 per year (based on a full-time schedule at $475 per credit hour)