Kalamazoo Valley Community College

 History of Kalamazoo Valley Community College History of Kalamazoo Valley Community College

Kalamazoo Valley Community College was established in 1966 by the overwhelming approval of voters in nine local school districts. It is a comprehensive, fully accredited, public, two-year College with enrollment of about 13,000 students. Kalamazoo Valley offers certificate programs in more than 20 areas of study and associate degrees in 25 others. In addition to Associate’s degree and certificate programs in business, health care, human and public service, technical occupations, and industry, the college also provides a quality experience for students preparing to transfer to four-year institutions following graduation.

Currently, KVCC has three campuses:

Designed by Alden B. Dow, a student of Frank Lloyd Wright, the Texas Township Campus is located near the I-94 and U.S. 131 interchange on 187 acres of rolling woodland west of Kalamazoo. Expanded several times over the last 35 years, the 430,000-square-foot complex features modern classrooms, comprehensive library and computer capabilities, two gymnasiums, a swimming pool, ball fields, tennis courts, a running track, two auditoriums, food services, free parking in expansive lots, and fully equipped labs for science, industrial and manufacturing technologies.

Located in downtown Kalamazoo, the Arcadia Commons Campus includes Anna Whitten Hall (built in 1994), the Kalamazoo Valley Museum, and the Center for New Media. The campus serves as a hub for a community, business and education partnership that renovated and revitalized a significant portion of the historic downtown area.

The Kalamazoo Valley Museum, which spotlights the history, culture, science and technology of Southwest Michigan, was opened in February 1996 and recently celebrated its 2 millionth visitor. Its construction was financed entirely by $20 million in private contributions. Governed by KVCC, the museum houses an interactive planetarium, the Mary Jane Stryker Theater for films and performances, a Children's Landscape for preschoolers, hands-on exhibits, the best available nationally traveling exhibits, and a Challenger Learning Center for simulated space exploration. The museum's renovated history gallery, “Kalamazoo Direct to You,” was reopened in December 2011. The museum provides a unique learning environment for students of Kalamazoo Valley Community College, as well as the general public.

The Center for New Media is located in the historic W. S. Dewing Building in the heart of the city. It offers career-based, industry-standard instruction for all aspects of digital media. Three floors of state-of-the art Mac and PC classrooms, two drawing studios, a photography studio with audio sound booth and five art galleries comprise this innovative and exciting campus.

Creating an educated workforce skilled to meet the demands of a changing economy has been the focus at The Groves Center on Kalamazoo Valley Community College’s third campus, The Groves Campus. Originally opened in 2001 as one of 18 M-TEC facilities across the state, the Groves Center was financed by a $5 million grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, plus $6 million in matching funds provided by area companies and foundations.

The Groves offers fast-track training programs that were designed with input from local employers. Available career academies include the Wind Turbine Technician Academy, which was initially launched in 2009 and has quickly earned a reputation as the premier training source for wind industry professionals. Other career academies offered at The Groves include Corrections Officer Academy, Hospitality Academy, Mechatronic Systems Technician Academy, and the CNC Operator Academy.

The Groves also offers customized workforce development training for area employers. Staff there works closely with business to ensure that services align with the employment needs of the region. Business and community leaders turn to the Groves Center for state-of-the art education and training.

The Groves Center also houses the Michigan High Throughput Screening Center, providing computerized, high-speed and robotic procedures and resources that can potentially accelerate the drug-discovering process.

Recently, the college announced the location of a fourth campus planned in downtown Kalamazoo. In cooperation with Bronson Healthcare and Kalamazoo Community Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, Kalamazoo Valley is currently developing a campus focused on wellness and food sustainability.

The new campus will be developed on 13.3 acres of unused land donated by Bronson Healthcare, where Kalamazoo Valley will expand its curriculum to include training in sustainable food production, distribution and preparation; all part of the college’s efforts to increase community understanding of and access to healthy food and nutrition.

The property, near Bronson Methodist Hospital, includes 8.4 acres along Crosstown Parkway east of the City of Kalamazoo’s Crosstown Center, 3.6 acres between Walnut and Dutton Streets, and 1.3 acres north of Crosstown Parkway and south of Dutton Street. Three campus facilities are planned. Kalamazoo Valley will develop one for food production and distribution, a second for nursing, allied health and culinary programs, and the third will be a new psychiatric clinic for KCMHSAS. Classes are expected to open in the fall of 2015.

Many special services and programs are available on all of the college's campuses -- a thriving Honors Program; comprehensive learning, tutoring and testing centers that offer one-on-one assistance; and the International Studies Program that includes more than 130 courses emphasizing the global aspects of everything from accounting to wellness.