Flint-based Kettering University today commenced construction of the Learning Commons, a $63-million, 105,000-square-foot, tech-centric multi-use facility that will serve as the academic hub of the campus. It is expected to be completed by the spring of 2022.
“This new facility represents a watershed investment in Kettering’s students, faculty, staff, and the Flint community,” says Robert K. McMahan, president of the university. “Investments like the ones we are making have a host of far-reaching implications, first and foremost, to our students. Through these investments, we boldly affirm our commitment to providing an academic environment that remains unrivaled anywhere in the country.”
The four-story building will include a digital library, auditorium, dining facilities, media resource centers, and collaborative workspaces that focus on mobility and artificial intelligence. The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation has granted $12.5 million to the university to build the Learning Commons and intends to grant up to an additional $12.5 million based on the project’s progress.
“We’re focused on strengthening the education continuum in Flint from cradle to college and career,” says Ridgway White, president and CEO of the foundation. “Kettering has played a vital role in that continuum for more than a hundred years. We’re pleased to support the Learning Commons to help propel Kettering into its second century and to continue attracting high-quality students and talent to our community.”
Designed by Canada-based Stantec, which has offices in Ann Arbor, Lansing, Berkley, and Farmington Hills, the open-concept, natural light facility is part of the university’s Boldly Forward strategic initiative campaign, the largest in the school’s history. The project will be facilitated by Clark Construction in Lansing as well as Flint-based contractors.
Kettering’s most recent construction is the Kettering University GM Mobility Research Center. The only one of its kind in the U.S., the 21-acre facility includes a 3.25-acre customizable all-weather test pad built to racetrack performance specifications, a 3,000-square-foot annex with secured and private spaces for prototype development, a temperature controlled environment, a drive-through bay, a heavy duty two-post vehicle lift, and more. It also includes level-II electric vehicle charging options and supports fuel sources including gasoline, propane, natural gas, and hydrogen.
Kettering is a private, nonprofit university. Its curriculum integrates classroom learning with experiential co-operative opportunities.