Construction has started on a Grand Rapids Community College project intended to inform and inspire — a comprehensive wayfinding system that will touch all areas of the downtown campus.
A new sign system will help pedestrians and motorists navigate their way through the campus, connecting them with classes and services.
The $600,000 project includes building signs as well as directional aids near roads and on pedestrian plazas, including fresh, modern designs that allow for future growth. It is the first major change to campus signs since the college transitioned from Grand Rapids Junior College 30 years ago.
“GRCC’s downtown campus is easily accessible by private and public transportation and is very walkable,” said Lisa Freiburger, GRCC’s vice president for Finance and Administration, who is overseeing the project. “It also can be a little confusing for visitors because it is so integrated with the city and doesn’t have a true main entrance. This new project will help people find our campus, and also help them find their way around it once they are here.”
Construction started this week with removal of some of the large, blue triangular signs and will continue through the winter, with installation of more than 100 exterior signs.
The college worked closely with Grand Rapids city planners to arrive at an eye-catching style that fits well within the aesthetics of the historic Heritage Hill neighborhood.
Corbin Design of Traverse City was the lead firm, working with GRCC’s Facilities Department and graphic design team. Universal Sign Systems of Grand Rapids heads the construction phase of the project.
“We collaborated to develop a system that incorporates elements of GRCC’s 100-plus years of history, with a contemporary feel.” said Alissa Raddatz, GRCC’s lead graphic designer. “The previous designs served the college well for decades. The new look is forward-facing and classic, with updated branding and a style intended to stay relevant for years to come.”The design is similar to the one used to highlight GRCC students on banners attached to streetlight poles throughout campus.