FLINT, Mich. (AP) — Michigan State University's future includes expanding into a piece of Flint's past.
Officials with the East Lansing-based university voted to lease part of the downtown Flint building that was the longtime home of The Flint Journal. The decision Friday by Michigan State's Board of Trustees authorizes the university to pursue leasing 40,000 square feet for its College of Human Medicine's growing public health program.
Michigan State said the space will deepen medical college's presence in Flint by increasing the number of third- and fourth-year students in the city, which is about 45 miles northeast of its main campus. It also is expected to provide room for new public health researchers.
The university plans to lease the space from Uptown Reinvestment Corp., the Flint nonprofit that bought the 120,000 square-foot building last year, Mlive.com reported. The medical school announced its plans in 2011 to expand its education and public health programs in Flint.
The newspaper building was among several properties across the state to be closed and put up for sale by The Flint Journal's parent company, MLive Media Group and Advance Central Services Michigan. The Flint Journal moved to smaller space nearby.
It's also not the first building that once housed a member of the newspaper chain to find new life as part of Michigan State's expanding medical school. University officials last year signed a $12 million deal to buy The Grand Rapids Press building and parking lots near the school's College of Human Medicine operations in the West Michigan city.
Tim Herman, president of Uptown Reinvestment and chief executive of the Genesee Regional Chamber of Commerce, said the goal is for renovations on the Flint building to start this summer and for Michigan State to move in about a year later. Architects are seeking to preserve the historic nature of the building.
Herman said loft apartments are planned for space that Michigan State isn't using.