On June 19, the Grand Rapids Christian Administration staff will finalize their move, relocating from the Iroquois Campus at 1508 Alexander SE to a brand new office at Eagles Stadium located at 2400 Plymouth Avenue SE, a new address on the campus of Grand Rapids Christian High School. Described by superintendent Tom DeJonge as a timely move, the administration is "making way for ducklings", the preschoolers and elementary students that call Iroquois home.
"It is tough to leave this place because working alongside young children has been a true joy," says DeJonge, whose office has been located at Iroquois since the building opened in 2010. But, "we're getting out of the way," he adds with a grin. Instead of a collection of offices, the space on the northwest wing of the building will feature three new early childhood classrooms.
These additional classrooms will provide much-needed space for a campus that has grown by more than 20 percent over the past six years. "We know the kids are far more important than us administrators," says DeJonge, who happily relinquishes the space for educational use.
The conversion of the space will also take place relatively quickly, with construction beginning just after the Fourth of July, and completing before the beginning of the upcoming school year. This fast turnover is due in part to the original construction of the office space built with a potential conversion in mind. "We built with this as a possibility," says DeJonge, noting the lack of weight-bearing walls within the offices, allowing for an easy transformation into classrooms.
Already moving into their new location, the new central office will retain its 574-6000 contact number. DeJonge and the rest of the GRCS central administrative team were delighted with a relatively simple and inexpensive move that kept them close to students and teachers. "The board and we wanted to be as visible as possible and housed at one of our five campuses rather than at a remote location. Being at the high school campus is ideal and we are excited to make it our new home,” says DeJonge.
For DeJonge, the change will be bittersweet. "We're each going to miss these young kids…but we're looking forward to the new space," he says. Overall, DeJonge is thankful for the time he and his staff had at Iroquois and the community that welcomed them. "The elementary families have been wonderful to us, and we have tremendously enjoyed establishing relationships with so many young families."