A new development in downtown Albion could be opening its doors in less than a month. You may have seen a building under construction on the corner of N. Superior and E. Cass. This is the Ludington Center — a space that will be open for use by students and community members alike. Building Manager and Director of Community Action Andrew French calls it an “incubator for big ideas,” a way for Albion residents and college students to work together.
Located on the second floor of the corner building, the large windows give a scenic view of downtown Albion. The space will offer employment training and help with job searches, for students and community members, and will be open to anyone. Hours are tentatively set at 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. but French says those hours may be adjusted based on demand.
Michigan Works!, a program devoted to helping the unemployed find work, is renting an office space on the building’s first floor. AmeriCorps VISTA team is partnering with the Ludington Center to assist with its development. It will also be the site of job training for future employees of the highly anticipated hotel, currently under construction one block over.
Albion College’s Ford and Gerstacker Institutes are looking for ways to utilize the space and are already planning their own events.. French says he is open to creative ways of using the building and encourages new ideas. It is composed of two executive offices, one conference room, two living spaces, plenty of comfortable chairs, a few tables and a bar.
French says the idea for Ludington Center has been brewing for nearly two years. It was a plan developed by a team including Albion Trustee Dr. Sam Shaheen, President Mauri Ditzler, V.P. of Alumni Relations Bob Anderson and V.P. for Finance and Administration Jerry White, the goal being to get the campus more involved in the community. “College students have a lot to offer the city, and the city has a lot to offer the college students,” French says.
Patrick Lopez, director of the Food Hub, and professor Wes Dick have expressed serious interest in teaching classes at the facility in the spring 2017 semester. Ryan Showers, an Albion resident, hosts a podcast which he will record inside Ludington Center once it opens. It may also become a meeting place for church groups and city government officials.
Though it could be sooner, French guarantees the Ludington Center will be open to students and the public by the start of the spring semester.
Photo by Marcus Olah