Kalamazoo Valley Community College

Healthy Living Campus

Kalamazoo, Michigan

Client Challenge + TowerPinkster Solution

The mission of Kalamazoo Valley Community College (KVCC) strives to enrich the lives of students and communities by providing quality educational programs and services. Following this objective, the college identified an opportunity to offer additional space and expand programs when they received 13.5 acres of land donated from Bronson Healthcare Group (Bronson) in downtown Kalamazoo. As an outcome of several previous community brainstorming sessions, the idea emerged to advance urban revitalization in the city, particularly in regard to promoting community health, workforce development, and sustainability. KVCC envisioned incorporating these elements into their new campus and enlisted TowerPinkster to create a master plan to design and develop their vision.
TowerPinkster worked closely with KVCC, Bronson and Kalamazoo Community Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (KCMHSAS) to develop the land into a collaborative, innovative, urban-based food and health education campus. Driving factors for the master plan included:

  • A New Culinary Arts Program. Regionally, there was a need for more culinary talent, and in response, KVCC desired to establish the first Culinary Arts program in Southwest Michigan.
    Relocated Allied Health Program. KVCC’s Allied Health Program resided at the college’s Texas Township campus and had outgrown its space.
  • Sustainable Food Education. As obesity rates (among other health issues) continue to rise, healthy living has become a priority. Increasing the use of locally-sourced food and providing space for preparation and processing are key elements in distribution.
  • Community Engagement. KVCC and KCMHSAS encourage students, community members and patients to engage in the process of planting and harvesting food.

The final master plan includes three buildings (Culinary and Allied Health, Food Innovation and KCMHSAS Clinic) situated on separate properties, connected by Portage Creek and the Kalamazoo River Valley Trail (KRVT). TowerPinkster designed landscape improvements to promote walkability and engage with the adjacent Upjohn Park and surrounding neighborhoods. Native landscapes were restored to provide areas for wildlife habitats and situated to all the public to engage with natural surroundings. Plantings reinforce agriculture, urban gardening, and pollination.

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