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Baker College construction in Royal Oak to bring students next year

Construction got underway this month for a new Baker College campus in Royal Oak that officials say will be ready for students in the Fall 2022.

“The pandemic hasn’t had a deep impact on plans for the Royal Oak campus,” said Baker College COO Jacqui Spicer. “We are hopeful by the time we open our doors … we’ll be back to an ample level of in-person learning, as the vaccination rolls out and the pandemic winds down.”

The seven-story, 86,000-square-foot campus will rise on the site of the former Kinsey-Garrett Funeral Home at 420. S. Lafayette, which dated back to 1936.

Baker officials say the new $15 million building is designed for about 1,500 students, faculty and staff.

The number of people on campus daily will fluctuate based on the course and student internship schedule, Spicer said.

Plans for the building include a three-level parking deck with one below-ground level and two levels above with a total of 80 parking spaces.

Baker College has already submitted a traffic plan to the city, said Todd Fenton, Royal Oak’s economic development manager.

“They are going to have some parking spots on site for students, but mostly for faculty,” Fenton said. “Baker will be purchasing parking permits for students at the city parking decks, like other businesses do, on Lafayette and possibly Center Street.”

On-site and surrounding parking decks are expected to provide ample parking for Baker College without affecting the community at large, Spicer said.

Fenton and other city officials see Baker College’s investment in the city as a plus for the downtown and the community.

“The hope is that bringing 1,500 students and faculty here provides an audience that will patronize our businesses and spend money in the downtown and around the city,” Fenton said.

Baker College officials began working with city officials to find a location for the new campus shortly after a proposal to create a campus in Ferndale in 2019 fell through, he added.

“We worked for a while looking for a location that would work for them and the city,” Fenton said.

The campus in Royal Oak comes with a responsibility to make an investment in the community, its culture and economy, according to Spicer.

“The campus will not include any type of dining amenities because we want our students to explore the city and be loyal patrons to all the incredible restaurants, shops and more that Royal Oak has to offer,” she said.

Founded in 1911, Baker College’s most popular degree programs are in business, information technology, nursing, education, occupational therapy, physical therapy, criminal justice, psychology and liberal arts.

Baker bills itself as Michigan’s largest, private not-for-profit college, and the top private transfer school statewide.

The college now has campuses in Cadillac, Jackson, Muskegon, Owosso and Auburn Hills and offers more than 40 online academic programs.

Baker College also has Culinary Arts Institute of Michigan locations in Port Huron and Muskegon, and the Auto Diesel Institute in Owosso.

Students from the Auburn Hills campus will all be transferred to the campus in Royal Oak in Fall 2022, Spicer said.


Posted By: The Oakland Press on January 25, 2021.  For more information, please click here to read the source article.

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