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GVSU land deal with Spectrum signals further downtown expansion

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Through a deal announced Tuesday afternoon and approved by the Grand Valley State University's Board of Trustees, a property exchange between Spectrum Health and GVSU will allow the university to further expand its presence downtown.

Grand Valley will essentially trade parking lots with Spectrum Health to allow for room to expand the university's current Center for Health and Sciences.

The swap includes a lot, slightly less than an acre, owned by GVSU on Lafayette within the Heritage Hill neighborhood and Spectrum's lot, slightly greater than an acre, north of Michigan Street.

Because Spectrum's lot is slightly larger, GVSU will pay Spectrum $1.85 million to compensate the difference in size and appraised value of the site.

Thomas Haas, president of GVSU's Board of Trustees said the move demonstrates the unique collaborative nature of West Michigan, adding the swap allows the university to further address growing demand from students to study in the medical field.

"When I see what the demand really is, we have right now about 550 applications for doctorate of physical therapy degrees, another 500 applications for PAs," Haas told reporters Tuesday following the announcement.

"If you talk to just our partners at Spectrum they say they needs hundreds of physicians assistants in the next 10 years, so we’ve got to get going."

Haas said construction on an expanded health and sciences center would've ideally began "yesterday." The expansion, which would essentially double the size of the current health and sciences center, costing an estimated $55-70 million with the potential of educating an additional 1,200 students.

A specific timetable for construction was not immediately available but this is just the latest announcement of planned expansion from the university. GVSU also owns property on the north side of I-196 where additional expansion for their health campus is planned over a period of the next 25 years.

Grand Valley has submitted the project to state policy makers and the legislature for review.

Rendering of lot swap provided by Grand Valley State University.

Rendering of lot swap provided by Grand Valley State University.

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