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WMCAT moves its headquarters to Grand Rapids' growing west side

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Grand Rapids City officials gathered Wednesday to cut the ribbon on the West Michigan Center for Arts and Technology’s (WMCAT) new westside headquarters on First St. The new 22,000 square foot facility is nearly double the size of WMCAT’s previous main office downtown, and provides after-school and summer arts and technology programs, as well as career training in medical coding, medical billing and pharmacy technician fields to under and unemployed adults.

Daniel Williams is the CEO and President of WMCAT. He says the new space is about more than just a bigger building.

“Space is only as good as the people who are inside it,” Williams said. “One of the things that we do believe though, is that space matters when we’re talking about how we use it, so that allows us to utilize the space and completely maximize the mission work that we do every day.”  

The new WMCAT comes on the heels of the new Bridge Street Market’s grand opening last week, with construction set to begin on a new 62 unit apartment complex adjacent to the market that will provide 51 new apartments for low income families. Williams said, there is strategic planning happening on the West Side to make sure that locals aren’t squeezed out.

“Community is 100 percent what it's about,” Williams said. “It is something that we think about constantly: How are we interacting with the community at large, and how are we interacting with systems that have historically not been supportive of so many? And how do we really work towards more equitable systems that are supporting all people throughout our community and not just a few.”

According to a press release, “a community driven fundraiser for the building exceeded its $8.5 million goal,” allowing the West Michigan Center for Arts and Technology to “move in ahead of schedule and on budget.”

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