Education

April 12, 2019

Design Insights: Westshore Community College Safety Training Center

In response to the growing need for public safety training, WSCC developed a vision for a multi-dimensional regional training center for public safety programs, including law enforcement and related fields, generating interest throughout central west Michigan.  The College identified an available existing 15-year old building on seven acres in Freesoil, Michigan that could be adapted and reused as an education and training facility to serve both the College and other communities on a regional basis. The adapted building includes classrooms, offices, reception area, conference space, computer labs, simulation labs, forensics lab, 911 training space, open training area, locker rooms and shower facilities, student commons, indoor firing range, and related spaces within the two-story, 21,000 SF facility. As an education facility, the development of new student-occupied space on two levels for WSCC use included:   Architectural upgrades throughout the existing building Fire Protection for the south portion of the main level Elevator to connect both levels Simulation labs New corridor passageways Observation spaces for groups The inclusion of an indoor firing range required particular design focus on two things:  quick evacuation of smoke and acoustic separation to diminish interruption of normal operations in surrounding spaces.  Within the limited floor-to-floor dimension, an […]
May 11, 2016

First Cohort in the Master of Architecture Graduates

Tom Mathison and Megan Feenstra Wall serve on the Board of Formation for the new Master of Architecture degree at Kendall College of Art & Design.

Megan had the pleasure of being a guest critic at the thesis final reviews for the first cohort of students to graduate from Kendall College of Art and Design's new Master of Architecture program. Five women and men presented their work to a guest panel, their thesis advisers, and fellow classmates. Megan was impressed by the level of exploration into how architecture can impact community as the projects addressed a number of pressing social concerns.

The work is currently on display through May 21st, 2016 in the Fed Gallery (a former project of Tom's) as part of the 2016 KCAD Annual Student Exhibition. Says Megan, "Three or four years ago we were only talking and dreaming about what a MArch program in West Michigan could look like, and…

March 14, 2016

Federal Building to Ferris Building: Renewal and Reconnection

Thanks to the Grand Rapids Historical Society for inviting our own Tom Mathison, along with Gene Hopkins from HopkinsBurns to discuss the story of transforming the historic Federal Building to the Woodbridge Ferris Building in downtown Grand Rapids.

The Western Michigan Federal District Court was created by act of Congress in late 1863. But it was not until 1872 that efforts to build a federal courthouse started. Site selection was in 1873, and Congress appropriated $70,000 for the site. The site required a lot of filling because it was partially in a low, swampy area. Excavation for the foundation was finally completed in 1876, and the building was completed in 1879 for $212,000. The first court session was held on October 7 of that year. This courthouse served well for about twenty years, when the growth of the district and the growth of the agency staffs in the building demanded more space. Finally, in 1909, the red brick building was demolished. …/p>