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Apr. 16, 2018

Inside Grand Rapids Community College’s Award-Winning Laboratory Preschool

Completed in 2017, the Laboratory Preschool is a unique learning environment for college students enrolled in the Child Development curriculum at Grand Rapids Community College. Used as an actual public preschool and daycare center, students in the education programs engage in activities with the children under the supervision of highly qualified teachers in a model early childhood program. The facility allows students to participate in hands-on learning and investigation, while providing college educators and local professionals with nearby childcare.

The footprint is a U-shape configuration, separating the space into two separate “houses”. The North “house” accommodates infants and toddlers and allows for a safe and private playground in the courtyard. The South “house” accommodates older children and has access to the larger playground. An ecological theme is woven throughout the building, based on the textures and design elements chosen to fill out the spaces – circles throughout the building represent connection, bubbles in the river, bubbles that children love to play with, and connection with the neighborhood. The lab preschool also includes separate observation rooms for students and staff.

Rockford has completed numerous projects for colleges and universities throughout the Midwest; we understand the special complexities of working on college campuses, as well as the need to support the mission of higher education institutions through clear communication, appropriate jobsite behavior, and nearly invisible construction footprints.

This understanding led to a National Excellence in Construction® Pyramid Award from Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) in the $5-$10 million category. Rockford was honored to receive the award in March during ABC’s 28th annual Excellence in Construction Awards celebration in Long Beach, California.

“Rockford Construction earned this Excellence in Construction Pyramid Award through their outstanding craftsmanship, teamwork and world-class safety processes, and Associated Builders and Contractors is pleased to honor them,” said 2018 ABC National Chair George R. Nash Jr., director of preconstruction at Branch & Associates in Herndon, Virginia. “The uncompromising commitment to top-quality construction from Rockford’s team was clear from start to finish in building Grand Rapids Community College’s Laboratory Preschool. ABC is proud to claim these leaders in the merit shop construction industry among its members.”

The Excellence in Construction awards program is the industry’s leading competition that honors both general and specialty contractors for innovative and high-quality merit shop construction projects. The award honors all construction team members, including the contractor, owner, architect, and engineer. The winning projects, selected from entries submitted from across the nation, were judged on complexity, attractiveness, unique challenges, completion time, workmanship, innovation, safety, and cost.

“We’re honored to have completed this important project for Grand Rapids Community College as they continue in expanding this unique program,” states Rockford Construction CEO, Mike VanGessel. “I’m proud of the Rockford team for achieving this award as we continue to deliver on our promise to be Builders of a Changing World.”