Alumnus comes full circle with construction of GRCC Lakeshore Campus

Overseeing the construction of the new Grand Rapids Community College Lakeshore Campus represented a full-circle moment for alumnus York Tardy.

As project superintendent for Grand Rapids-based The Christman Company, Tardy oversaw every aspect of the transformation of the former department store into a 21st-century learning hub. 

Tardy started his career in construction pouring concrete right after graduating from East Kentwood High School.
York Tardy is a project superintendent with The Christman Company.
He enrolled at what was then Grand Rapids Junior College, where he was a part-time student with a full-time job. 

A series of construction jobs later and Tardy is now a senior project superintendent for Christman. Even though he was already in construction as a college student, he says GRJC taught him important skills.

“The critical thinking that you’re taught in college — take the ‘big picture’ stuff and bring it down into the detail part of it — we do that every day in construction,” he says.
 
‘Coming full-circle’
 
The GRCC Lakeshore Campus proved a challenging conversion of a 52,000-square-foot big box into a consolidated campus with classrooms and labs, including one dedicated to professional trades, such as welding and machining.

As project superintendent, Tardy was responsible for carrying out the designs of the architects and engineers, overseeing the flow of construction, and keeping the project on time. 

“I do feel like there’s a little bit of coming full circle here: right out of high school, pouring concrete and right into JC after that,” he says. “Here I am, back 30 years later, building the next facility that’s going to educate the future people that are in our industry.”

GRCC President Bill Pink spotlighted Tardy’s role in the project and his ties to GRCC during the campus’ Aug. 19 ribbon-cutting ceremony, adding that he appreciated having an alumnus overseeing the project.

“York was always the person up front, saying, ‘Hey, here’s what this thing is all about, here’s what this facility is going to do.’” Pink says, “And what was nice was that we had a family member taking care of it.”

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Read more articles by Shandra Martinez.