Muskegon Community College by Alden B. Dow

When developing the site plan for Muskegon Community College in 1963, Alden B. Dow marked off a 122-acre section of wooded and hilly creek land and designed the campus around and on top of a stream that meanders through its entire length.  Following a successful bond issue, a contract was awarded on June 11, 1965 with the cost of construction listed as $3,966,879.

The college appears from the outside to consist of a rather conventional series of low, single-story tan brick buildings.  When seen from above, however, the buildings connect to form a large faceted diamond.  From the court inside the diamond, one can see that the buildings actually range from one to three stories depending on the contours of the hills.  The court area itself is a delightful blend of architecture and nature, with water, woods, bark covered walkways, and gentle green hills.

The overall complex is roughly divided into two wings. The academic wing features classrooms, labs, and a planetarium.  The vocational/technical wing includes a foundry and metallurgy section, auto shop, machine shop, and more.  All rooms and corridors have some visual access to the stream.  At the lowest level there are small outside bridges allowing pedestrian access from one side of the building to the other.

The college library, two stories tall and topped with an open air terrace, is the structural highlight of the inner court.  Although separate from the vocational and academic wings, it is readily accessible to both.  The bookstore and other student services are located near the main entrance to campus.

The formal dedication ceremony was held on October 22, 1967.  The featured speaker was Dr. Ashley Montagu, noted anthropologist, author, and educator.

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