Ferris State University and Kendall College of Art and Design are beginning renovations on the Old Federal Building located in Grand Rapids.
One of the largest art schools in Michigan, Kendall’s current campus is 140,000 square feet. The renovation of the Old Federal Building will add approximately 90,000 square feet of lecture, classroom and gallery space to Kendall’s campus.
The renovation project includes redeveloping the parking lot along Division Avenue and pursuing Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification.
Ferris Communications Officer Marc Sheehan said the decision to renovate the Old Federal Building came from Kendall’s large enrollment increases.
“Student enrollment has tripled in the past 10 years and programs continue to grow,” said Sheehan. “However, the current campus is confined to just two buildings.”
Sheehan said the decision to use the Old Federal Building came from its close location to Kendall’s campus. The Old Federal Building resides near the campus’ two buildings located at 17 Fountain St. and 25 Lyon.
According to the development agreement, the city of Grand Rapids will lease the building to Federal Building Partners LCC, which will lease the building to Ferris. The addition of the Old Federal Building to Kendall’s campus will give the college three connected city blocks.
The project will be a public-private partnership led by Ferris, Kendall, the city of Grand Rapids and Christman Company.
Ferris President David Eisler said the downtown Grand Rapids project will be home to designers, student artists and creative thinkers.
“We will restore this landmark building to its finest hour,” said Eisler.
The cost of the renovation project will be approximately over $28 million. Funding for the project came partially through American Recovery and Reinvestment Act bonds, state Brownsfield tax incentives and historic tax credits. Ferris and Kendall are also seeking private philanthropic support for the project.
“The university made it a priority that funding the renovation would not become a burden for Ferris or Kendall students,” said Sheehan.
Throughout its history, the Old Federal Building has served as a courthouse, a post office and the Grand Rapids Art Museum. The fully restored building is scheduled to open spring 2012. n