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The Pickard

Project At-a-Glance

The Pickard will house a collection of learning, event, and maker spaces that broaden community members’ access to lifelong learning and personal enrichment. The building will function as a social and recreational hub that promotes creativity, connection, and well-being. It will bring together numerous existing organizations and businesses that wish to expand their current offerings, create new ones, or rehouse those that would benefit from being at the Pickard location.

The Pickard is about collaboration and spirit. By combining the talents and expertise of its affiliates, the space can provide classes and services for many interests—cooking, crafting, art, music, technology, industrial, and more. The Pickard will promote continual growth and practice by providing both structured courses and studio/maker spaces for drop-in member use.

Why does this support the mid-michigan area?

  • Increased Capacity for Personal Enrichment
    • The Mt Pleasant community already offers a number of community educational offerings, which are hosted by numerous businesses and organizations. But often, those opportunities are limited by the business’ available space and resources. The Pickard building and its affiliation with Mid Michigan College can increase service capacity by supplying equipment, space, and technology so that providers can expand their reach and their services.
  • Increased Awareness for Programs Across a Wide Spectrum of Interests
    • The Pickard can increase synergies between the many excellent programs already offered in Mt Pleasant. By bringing together a diverse range of interests and topics, it can raise overall community awareness and access to programs to which they may not otherwise have been exposed. Imagine learning about a yoga retreat after your cooking class, or being invited to a Setting Up Your Online Store course while you learn sewing techniques.
    • Centralized communication and marketing about offerings both at The Pickard and off-site at partner locations concentrates attention on Mt Pleasant’s enrichment offerings.
  • Increased Participation Because of Easier Access (One-Stop-Shop)
    • The Pickard’s membership model will allow easy exploration of both current interests and those that members may not otherwise consider.
  • Increased Well-Being
    • Participation in arts, crafts, fitness, and community learning is about more than picking up a new skill or honing one you already have. Research indicates that there are clear physical and emotional benefits. We are the purest forms of ourselves when we create and can fully embrace the present. Connecting to one another under these conditions propels flourishing and supportive communities.

Project Specifics

There are a number of possibilities about what The Pickard might offer, but its final construct will depend on the needs that community members and local businesses identify. Depending on that feedback and the industries that partner with Mid Michigan College, The Pickard may feature some or all of the following:

  • Event space for cultural or recreational gatherings
    • Concerts
    • Shows
    • Speaker Series
    • Performances
  • Venue space for rent by individuals or corporations
  • Professional work spaces
    • Innovative meeting spaces for team building and corporate retreats
    • Open main floor with access to business amenities
  • Classrooms for instruction in
    • Visual and performing arts
    • Health and wellness
    • Fitness and recreation
    • Music
    • Technology and industry trades
    • Digital literacy
    • Monetizing creative projects
    • Culinary arts
  • Maker spaces and labs
    • Crafting areas
    • Wood / machine shops
    • Incubator kitchen
    • Sewing and design studios
    • Computer labs
    • 3D rendering and printing
    • Prototyping and testing
    • Audio/Visual studio and recording and production spaces
  • Gallery / retail spaces
    • Showcases for local art and goods produced by students and members of The Pickard
    • Annual art shows and craft fairs

Possible Partners

  • Hospital systems or healthcare providers
  • Artisan groups, organizations, or businesses
  • Fitness, yoga, aerobics providers
  • Studios and theaters
  • Companies looking to prototype or develop offerings
  • Educational providers

What influences this concept?


Maker Media describes Makerspaces this way.

“Makerspaces are community centers with tools. Makerspaces combine manufacturing equipment, community, and education for the purposes of enabling community members to design, prototype and create manufactured works that wouldn’t be possible to create with the resources available to individuals working alone.

These spaces can take the form of loosely-organized individuals sharing space and tools, for-profit companies, non-profit corporations, organizations affiliated with or hosted within schools, universities or libraries, and more. All are united in the purpose of providing access to equipment, community, and education, and all are unique in exactly how they are arranged to fit the purposes of the community they serve.” (

The Maker Movement democratizes education and development by bringing creative people together and providing access to fabrication tools, equipment, and machinery. It encourages people to learn in creative and hands-on ways and empowers people with skills that can launch their own small businesses or side-income projects.

Currently, it is estimated that there are over 700 Makerspaces in the US, all of them constructed differently to serve the distinct communities in which they are located.

Community Centers

These public centers feature numerous recreational options, along with non-recreational programming and services, with the intention of connecting community members to one another while they pursue interests.

Collaborative Work Spaces

With co-working spaces like WeWork taking hold in metropolitan areas, modern professionals or businesses can do their work in collaborative, beautiful, and flexible environments. These spaces create atmospheres (facility layout and decor, lighting, services, art, technology, etc) that inspire productivity and attract talent.

Specific examples of projects and venues currently engaged in similar efforts

ArtMuze Website

Downtown Market Website

Fricano Place Website

Artisan Asylum Website

The Village Workshop Website



Project Outcomes, Expectations, and Metrics

Anticipated Outcomes / Goals

  • Through this project, the College anticipates creating partnerships with meaningful businesses, entities, and organizations who will collaborate on The Pickard's offerings and services. These partnerships are essential in expanding the College's ability to serve and to convey local strategic value to the Mt. Pleasant community.
  • Community members within a 30-mile radius of The Pickard benefit from greater access to enrichment and learning options.
  • Community members have access to new working environments that support greater physical and emotional well-being.

No final decisions have been reached regarding the composition of offerings and services at The Pickard. Below are other possible outcomes.

  • The College will expand its educational value by offering more short-term training in both professional and personal growth areas. In this way, the College will provide new access routes to learning and enrichment that allow for laddered learning into credit-bearing offerings.
  • The College has the opportunity to expand program offerings in the culinary, performing, visual, digital, and musical arts.
  • The College can expand its transfer pathways through strategic partnerships with other educational providers, whose offerings may be housed at The Pickard.


Robert Dykstra, property developer, has been contracted as the project consultant. His expertise is in conceptualizing multi-purpose spaces that reinvigorate office buildings. Bob's previous/current projects include the MAC (Michigan Athletic Club) and The Commons in Grand Rapids.

Bob will conduct guided discovery sessions with Mid Michigan College personnel and community members as he establishes final recommendations.

The Pickard will be incorporated as its own entity, independent of Mid Michigan College, though the College will be its largest shareholder. This model will allow partner organizations to share in governance and revenue.

Evaluation Process and Metrics

  • The number of official College partnerships will increase.
  • Public awareness of the College will increase. Public sentiment and support of the College will improve. The Advancement Committee is currently establishing a recommendation for collecting baseline public sentiment so that an assessment of current vs future state is possible.
  • The College will serve more people in educational offerings. These data will be collected and compared to trend data about the number of people served through the following:
    • Credit-bearing offerings
    • Non-credit programs and customized trainings
    • Lifelong learning offerings
  • The Pickard becomes a sustainable property for the College rather than a financial loss.

Project Timeline

Early consideration of the project began when the College was approached by Bob Dykstra in May, 2018. The Pickard building has been empty since completion of the CLAB in 2012. The Board of Trustees heard a recommendation from David Dreyer, lawyer, that the building should be repurposed in March, 2018 to offset financial losses and add strategic value to the Mt. Pleasant community.

  • Early Visioning Phase: August - December, 2018. Bob Dykstra contracted to conduct guided discovery to assess local needs and resources and to identify key partners.
  • Facility Upgrades and Renovations: August, 2018 - Ongoing.
  • Guided Discovery Sessions with Mid Staff: November 1, 2018.
  • College Staff Open House: Late November.
  • Community Open House: March, 2019, TBD.
  • First classes and activities launch in The Pickard building: As construction allows, possibly late Feb, 2019.

Project FAQ's

The table below includes questions received about the project through the form below. Responses from the appropriate College representative will be posted as they are available.

How to be involved

Feedback and Ideas About the Project

Should you wish to connect with Bob about ideas for The Pickard or to voice questions / concerns beyond the scope of the form below, contact Jessie Gordon, Mid Michigan College Associate VP of Strategic Communications: 989.317.4626 or

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