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Michigan College Turning Former Funeral Home Into Classrooms

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A Michigan community college plans to hold classes in the fall at a renovated former funeral home, as college officials look to stop leasing space and make a permanent investment in the community.

Muskegon Community College purchased the Clock Life Story Funeral Home building in Grand Haven for about $378,000, The Grand Haven Tribune reported.

The college's Grand Haven campus is currently located at the Grand Haven Community Center. The college pays nearly $8,000 a month to lease part of the facility, according to Dale K. Nesbary, the college's president. The campus opened in 2012 and serves about 1,000 students each year.

Officials searched for more than six months for a building that had the space for classrooms and offices that the college could own and invest in, Nesbary said. Officials felt it was time to put down permanent roots and go beyond just leasing a space, he said.

There will likely be about $300,000 in renovations before classes begin in August, so the building's former use won't be apparent, Nesbary said.

"It will look nothing like the funeral home that you currently know, believe me," he said. "We'll do major renovations from the inside out — walls, ceilings, HVAC."

Nesbary said he believes the new space is more convenient and more easily accessible than the community center. He said the acre of land will allow the college to expand in the future.

Nesbary said he also hopes the new location's proximity to Grand Haven High School will lead to an increase in early college enrollment.

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