Junior Achievement to expand programming at new Kentwood facility COURTESY RENDERING

Junior Achievement to expand programming at new Kentwood facility

BY Friday, September 25, 2020 01:32pm

Correction appended.

KENTWOOD — Junior Achievement of the Michigan Great Lakes has purchased a commercial office building in Kentwood where the nonprofit will consolidate a series of business education programs for K-12 students across West Michigan.

The organization is moving into a 16,574-square-foot office building in Kentwood that was purchased earlier this year for $3.5 million from Integrated Architecture LLC. The sale closed on April 1 for the building at 4090 Lake Drive SE, according to property records. 

Integrated Architecture sold the building to relocate its headquarters to 840 Ottawa Ave. NW, located north of downtown Grand Rapids. Junior Achievement is renting space in Grand Rapids roughly one mile north of its new Kentwood office.

A groundbreaking event is scheduled for Sept. 30, though the facility won’t house students until spring 2022, said Laura Lutterbeck, chief marketing officer for Junior Achievement of the Michigan Great Lakes. 

“The Integrated Architecture building is very unique, and kind of iconic in the Grand Rapids area,” Lutterbeck said. “Because it’s so unique in the layout it was going to need the right buyer and it’s perfect for what we’ll use it for.”

The Grand Rapids-based chapter of the nonprofit serves schools throughout West Michigan and all school districts in the Upper Peninsula. The volunteer-driven organization teaches work-readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy programs for K-12 students. The local chapter is part of the global Junior Achievement nonprofit that marked its 100-year anniversary in 2019.

In addition to office space, the new Kentwood location will house three Junior Achievement programs to give students an immersive experience, Lutterbeck said. Once operational, the Kentwood facility will see more than 20,000 students annually, and 80-85 percent will come from within a one-hour radius, Lutterbeck said.

The Kentwood building will also be the only Junior Achievement location in Michigan with its three main student programs: BizTown, Finance Park and an enterprise incubator for high school students. 

BizTown, which teaches fifth and sixth graders about the economy as well as job interview skills, includes 12 classroom learning sessions. Finance Park also includes 12 classroom sessions to teach financial independence to high schoolers. The new $12.9 million Free Enterprise Center will house the new JA Entrepreneurship Incubator and afterschool program, where business leaders will mentor high school students.

Integrated Architecture is investing about $2 million to renovate its new 13,600-square-foot headquarters at 840 Ottawa Ave. NW, as MiBiz previously reported.

Editor’s note: The name of Junior Achievement’s Free Enterprise Center has been updated based on new information from the organization.

Read 3695 times Last modified on Monday, 28 September 2020 09:03