Campus View has been growing alongside Grand Valley State University for the last 50 years with a large inventory of apartments and town homes, and thousands of happy tenants. But as Grand Valley grows so do options for leasing and Campus View wanted to make their initial experience with potential new tenants reflect who they were more completely.
r.o.i. Design was engaged to redesign the “customer experience” in their lobby and entry. Campus View has made continual investment in amenities but those investments aren’t always visible to customers on their first visit, so the lobby had to become a welcome center and a “billboard”.
Removing the wall and counter that separated leasing staff from the inquiring customers was crucial. Opening up the space meant finding a way to lock down the office after hours, so r.o.i. Design created large sliding doors, that when closed, created a warm backdrop for the lobby.
The use of maple plywood to create office dividers, sliding doors, sales desk and the decorative panels in the hallway eliminated the coldness of the painted concrete block without having to drywall the entire space. The smaller block wall in the lobby was custom painted giving the block an intentional “artsy” look.
Campus View was so happy with the outcome that they sent us a personal thank-you that read, “We’re overjoyed with our updated facility and impressed with every aspect of working with your team. Thanks and we’d be thrilled to be a reference anytime. Cheers!”
For more about Campus View Apartments and Townhouses, click here.
The Grand Valley University Foundation (GVUF) is the umbrella organization and recognition society for all who give to the University through annual giving, capital campaigns, special giving or planned giving. And while the steady growth of the University is apparent, the Shaping Our Future Campaign was a landmark.
At the annual Enrichment Dinner in 2011, the foundation announced that not only did it meet the stretch goal of $75 million for the Shaping Our Future campaign, it exceeded it. Thanks to more than 17,000 donors, the foundation raised $96.4 million.*
The challenge of creating a “donor wall” with 17,000 names to acknowledge all the givers developed into an opportunity. The goal was to acknowledge the donors but also inspire students and alumni in the story of philanthropy of Grand Valley State University.
The GVUF committee wanted to create an interactive display using touch screen technology and video to invite technologically-inclined students to engage with the exhibit. r.o.i Design, who also designed the L. William Seidman exhibit at the L. William Seidman School of Business, was asked to design and manage the execution of the donor exhibit.
The foundation developed all lists, all copy and compiled photos, giving r.o.i. Design the assignment to design and develop the graphics, the exhibit and hire the team who could complete the work. Along the way, it was determined that in addition to the Shaping Our Future donors, all donors in recent history should also have a way to be acknowledged in the touch screen experience.
The exhibit was installed at the Student Services Center in Allendale in July 2016. We acknowledge the efforts and contributions of CK Productions for compiling the video, Underbite Games for the touch screen app, Superior Wood Products for the exhibit casework and Custer Tech for the AV equipment.
For more about the GVUF click here.
* The results of the Shaping Our Future campaign, Mary Idema Pew Library Learning and Information Commons and the L. William Seidman Center, were both dedicated with much celebration by the Grand Valley community and the foundation in the Fall of 2013.
GVSU’s original “cafeteria” was built more than 40 years ago and is still the largest food service facility on campus. It feeds a lot of people but needed to respond to the changing campus and its customers. More seating capacity at Fresh Food Co. and upgraded finishes meant planning for a 2016 summer remodel.
r.o.i. Design, who also designed the GVSU Laker Store in 2014 and its adjacent food court, was engaged by the University through Preferred Construction to create the design.
Einstein Bros. Bagels was moved out to a different location giving the Commons a fourth dining room.
The design team, which included Campus Dining, GVSU Facilities, Preferred Construction and r.o.i. Design, looked at the trends in college dining and the recent building projects on campus along with their customer’s preferences to create a design criteria that could be executed within the budget and timeline.
“GVSU has more than 25,000 students and commensurate staff, so a lot of food service customers who have a variety of preferences. In order to create options in dining, it was agreed that the four rooms would each have a unique feeling so guests could have different experiences within the same facility. We agreed to organize the room designs around four ideas, one per room: water, earth, fire and wind,” says Mary Witte, President of r.o.i. Design. “The dining rooms already had some features that lent themselves to these notions, so we were able to build on what was already there and create something intentional and fun.”
Each room received new flooring, new lighting, new millwork features, new paint accents and new furnishings that aligned with the “theme” of the room.
“Community Tables” were added to allow for larger groups to gather. Custom lighting enhanced the distinct look of each room.
The food line was enhanced with new equipment to allow Campus Dining the option to offer more variety in their menu.
r.o.i. Design’s initial observations of customer’s response to the remodel has been very satisfying and we are proud that our design contributions met the goals of the Fresh Food Co. at The Commons at GVSU.
Barb Ellis at a chilly ground breaking ceremony.
What does a school board president do when they want to make sure their school is the best design it can be? Call r.o.i. Design!
Barb Ellis did just that.
Black River Elementary School is part of the Black River Public Schools, a public charter school. Until last April, their elementary school was meeting in portable classrooms on their campus. They moved the students to a temporary location and broke ground for their new school. Four months later, the students came back to their new beautiful school.
Special Education Offices and Classrooms
Barb and Black River were in the capable hands of Robert Doornbos, (RMD Architects), and Bob McFarlane, (Lakewood Construction), but the list of decisions to make and the broad spectrum of opinions threatened to slow the process down. We joined the team late in 2014 and ran alongside their process to aid in the imagining of the exterior and the interior design of the classrooms and auxiliary spaces.
Teachers Break Room
We met with teachers early in the process and shared some ideas for iconic furnishings that would make their Montessori classrooms even more of an experience for their students.
Color schemes and the organization of color within the school was a collaborative process and the result has received “all A’s”.
Grades 1 -2 Classrooms : Blue Accents with Dark Wood Casegoods
Grades 3-4: Green Accents and Light Casegoods
Barb and Mike Ellis have been friends and customers of r.o.i. Design for a long time and we appreciate them giving us this opportunity. (Spin Dance in Holland, MI and Grand Rapids, MI).
For more about Black River Schools and the building of the elementary school:
Black River Public Schools
Holland Sentinel Article about Black River Elementary
Recently, r.o.i. Design was at a bid opening and after hearing the bids for Division 09, it was clear to all that something was “up”. We all are seeing a steady increase in the percentage of costs spent in finishes in projects.
r.o.i. Design has been able to balance budgets by applying specialty finishes with discretion in key areas and working with contractors on the design as a whole, before a project goes to bid. Managing customer expectations at the design phase is key in order to deliver the interior the customer requires.
Some of the areas to watch for creeping costs include:
Hard surface flooring
LVT is available in a wide selection of colors and patterns, including those that mimic wood and stone.
The old stand by – vinyl composite tile (VCT) – which is affordable at install, but adds cost
every year in maintenance, is loosing ground to other composites that don’t have that ongoing expense. There are VET (vinyl enhanced tiles) and LVT (luxury vinyl tiles) whose retail square foot costs are a minimum of $1 more than VCT.
A larger portion of the flooring in projects are receiving hard surfaces verses carpet.
The love for finished concrete isn’t necessarily a budget saver and it’s popularity has demanded more skilled trades in adapting concrete in order to be considered a finished floor.
Wall panels and specialty wall treatments
Molded cork wall coverings by Murrato
Wall covering manufacturers have been busy coming up with new materials and designs that are gaining interest. r.o.i. Design doesn’t believe we will ever see projects where 100% of the walls are covered with wall covering as was prevalent in the 90’s, but do see a percentage of the walls being given “special” treatment.
Custom wall covering and panel products are becoming more affordable allowing customers to create “branded” and proprietary looks to their interiors. Part of that customization means the finish category is fulfilling more of the signage requirements of a building.
Changes in technology have advanced product design and improved product performance. But the first wave of those innovations come at a higher price. The cycle of new product introduction is more robust, and increased competition will start to impact costs on trendy finishes in a positive direction.
Grand Valley State University
The new 40,000 SF marketplace retail facility at the Allendale campus of Grand Valley State University will be open to students this month.
The planning of the store started in 2012 when the University Book Store team researched other university stores to see the trends in campus retail. We weren’t surprised to learn:
- Books are no longer the big seller. If students haven’t converted to electronic books, they probably are shopping online for the best price for used books. The name of the store is now officially GVSU Laker Store, no more “book” store.
- Food and technology are part of the experience. At GVSU Laker Store there will be a department where students can purchase hardware and software for most of their technology needs. Adjacent to the store, outside the door, Starbucks and Which Wich are ready to capture the shoppers on their arrival and exits.
- They are competing with off campus retail experiences for fashion and active wear. For GVSU Laker Store that means competing with product mix, service and store design. That’s where r.o.i. Design comes in.
As part of the Fishbeck Thompson Carr & Huber (FTC&H) design team, we worked with the store staff, GVSU facility managers and FTC&H to come up with a competitive experience. The criteria for design was to create a space that resonates with the student experience of “making unique choices”. We want the student to recognize themselves in some elements or parts of the store through the variety of finishes and graphics. We wanted them to take ownership and be proud of their school store. “Lakers for Life”.
Some of our favorite parts of the design:
- Custom tile: using the universal symbols for academic departments, we created a mosaic of color to indicate all choices of study and types of students were welcome here.
- Media Display: In the taller part of the store, 9 screens create a large display that can either show one large image or up to 9 individual images. The plan is to show real time GVSU athletic games and musical performances while students and their family shop.
- Custom graphics: using the letters G, V, S and U, we created a “cloud” type graphic using different fonts and colors again to represent that the GVSU experience is as diverse as its community and highly connected through technology.
- The Laker Wave: the two story volume holds over 250 translucent blades of cloth that together attempt to create the image of moving water. The gesture of the blades texture the interior but also impact the look of the exterior as they are seen through the wall of curtain glass.
- Reclaimed wood: throughout the interior and exterior there is reclaimed wood siding. The internal staircase in the store is a friendly combination of wood, color and light.
- Color: (Photo) challenging the campus standards of GVSU blue and white, GVSU Laker Store is vibrant as it reflects the many colors of the fashion shown in the store.