Artful expansion

Krystle Wagner • Jul 21, 2015 at 12:55 PM

West Michigan Academy of Arts and Academics is adding about 17,000 square feet this summer to include four new classrooms, an art room and a theater with an attached scene shop to the existing 37,000-square-foot building. The first phase also includes adding about 60 parking spaces to improve traffic flow.

During the next five years, the school will undergo two phases of construction to enhance the building and address growing student enrollment. The first phase of construction began last week and is expected to wrap up in time for the start of the 2013-14 school year.

Travis Thomsen, director of West Michigan Academy of Arts and Academics, said the first phase would cost about $1 million. The project will be funded through bonds and about $500,000 from the school’s fund balance.

The second phase will cost a little less than $3 million and will add seven classrooms and a more formal theater lobby. Thomsen said construction would take place within the next three-to-five years.

Thomsen noted that student enrollment is driving the project at this time. He said enrollment has grown organically and slowly as a result of word-of-mouth, not through advertisement efforts.

West Michigan Academy of Arts and Academics board president Matt Butler said the slow expansion is intentional.

“We don’t want to grow too big too quickly,” he said.

To read more of this story, see today's print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.

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