Grand Rapids Community College Announced as the Certified Green Building Award for Higher Education

The U.S. Green Building Council of West Michigan (USGBC-WM) announces Steven C. Ender Hall at Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC) in Grand Rapids, MI, as the Certified Green Building Award Winner for Higher Education. The Certified Green Building Awards recognize exemplary building projects that received high-performance certifications.

Steven C. Ender Hall, at 455 E. Fulton St., was constructed early in the 20th Century by a lumber baron for his family, and was used for various things over the decades, including as a dormitory. GRCC purchased it from Davenport University for use as offices, and it was determined it would need extensive renovations to continue being a viable space for the college. GRCC worked with Progressive AE, local building officials, and the city’s Historic Preservation Commission on the $3.4 million renovation, which received LEED Gold Certification. The 3,850-square-foot facility is now used for student-focused departments, including the Experiential Learning and the Honors programs, and Student Employment Services. It also provides space for Student Life clubs and organizations to meet. “Preserving landmark buildings like this is the right solution for maintaining a connection to the past, while making a strong commitment to the future,” Progressive practice leader Tod Stevens said about the project. “One of the best ways to be sustainable is to renovate rather than building new, so giving new life to the historic structure was a great first step.”

GRCC, through collaboration with Progressive AE, was able to take a beautiful brick historic home that fits well with its Heritage Hill neighborhood and transform it into a vibrant, sustainable space for a college – without sacrificing any of the building charm. Keeping to their campus commitment of sustainability, GRCC was able to restore this space and create a framework for other projects. As an historic campus – GRCC is Michigan’s first community college – the institution is constantly upgrading, expanding and modernizing their facilities. “All the work we do starts with the thought of following our sustainability goals, making our community a better place. But sustainability is more than a goal, it is a recognition of the responsible and right way to do things,” said James VanDokkumburg, Executive Director of Facilities at the College.

The USGBC-WM Leadership Awards promote outstanding green building initiatives by recognizing projects, organizations, and people who have made extraordinary contributions to achieving healthy, energy-efficient green buildings in the state of Michigan.

“Our built environment should be a conduit to our wellness and vitality. In most cases, an employer's largest operating cost is its people,” said Cheri Holman, Executive Director of USGBC-WM. “Investing in those people by providing them with an indoor environment that is safe, comfortable, and inspiring is a key way to attract and retain a flourishing workforce.”

GRCC was honored at our 2022 Annual Party & Leadership Awards Ceremony on December 8, 2022. Hosted by the U.S. Green Building Council of West Michigan, the evening event was held in the Ballroom at the LEED-certified CityFlatsHotel located in downtown Grand Rapids. The program included a keynote address by Jeremy Orr, Director of Litigation and Advocacy Partnerships for Earthjustice, an Awards Ceremony, and the introduction of our new Board of Directors nominees.  

To learn more about their accomplishments and to read our 2022 Annual Report visit our Annual Party & Leadership Awards Ceremony page.