Colleges Attract Students to Downtown Lansing

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When you think of college students coming back to campus, most people probably picture MSU and East Lansing. But lots of people are heading to class in downtown Lansing this fall.

Davenport University celebrated its grand opening in a new building Thursday, while Lansing Community College unveiled its large-scale renovations to welcome back students.

"It's different," LCC student Brody Batdorff said. "It's definitely a lot different in this building."

Some students had a tough time finding their away around, but were happy and even shocked to see the overhaul of the Arts and Sciences building.

"It blew my mind," LCC student Stevie Petrosky said.

There was definitely some excitement on the first day of class at LCC as the students experienced the $31 million renovations for the first time.

"This project was done for our students and for our teachers to really transform teaching and learning at Lansing Community College the way that it needs to be for their careers and for their continuing education," LCC Dean of Arts and Sciences Michael Nealon said.

It's a building of the future for the future with cutting edge technology in every classroom and throughout the facility, including writeable walls and 3-D projectors. The collaborative meeting spaces and state of the art equipment set LCC apart from the rest.

"This will truly make Lansing Community College a destination for folks who are coming to Michigan's capital city," Nealon said.

Now less than a mile down the same road, another school went through an upgrade with similar high tech features to attract even more students to the area.

"We're thrilled to be here," Davenport University President Richard Pappas said. "It's a place people enjoy working. It's a place people enjoy studying. It's a place that people will really get something out of it."

Davenport University looks to more than double its enrollment, up to 2,000 students. The hope is they'll graduate and then work in a local industry, like auto or healthcare.

Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero calls this an education corridor and a big win for the city.

"It's about the vibrance of the downtown," Mayor Bernero said. "They're going to help us to grow. We are headed in the right direction."

Both schools said if there's any competition between them, it's friendly. Administrators from LCC and Davenport said they'd be open to working together and developing a program available to students at both schools.

Classes at the new Davenport building begin September 4.

The Arts and Sciences building at LCC has scheduled a grand opening for October. All the finishing touches like artwork and added furniture will be in place by then.

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