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Home » News » New use for Nims School: 150 jobs to be created

New use for Nims School: 150 jobs to be created

 Up to 150 jobs planned at health company moving into old Nims School

Updated on June 15, 2017 at 3:35 PMPosted on June 15, 2017 at 3:33 PM


BY LYNN MOORE

MUSKEGON, MI - A plan by an expanding patient monitoring and telemedicine company to move into the old Nims Elementary School has received an enthusiastic endorsement from city commissioners.

The plan by AvaSure, a Grand Rapids area company, to sink a significant amount of money into the former school building and move in at least three new business units required a planned unit development approval, which the city commission granted Tuesday.

"I'm excited about the project overall," said City Commissioner Ken Johnson, who lives in the Nims Neighborhood.

Brad Playford, owner and CEO of AvaSure, told commissioners the school building will be home to three to four new business units of AvaSys, AvaSure's patient video monitoring system used by hospitals. Those units include an international unit, a new unit called AvaCare that will provide remote video monitoring from Muskegon to health facilities across the country, and a new telemedicine unit, Playford said.

The 12-year-old company is located in Belmont and employs about 100.


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New use for old Nims School planned by patient video monitoring firm

The school was shuttered five years ago.

It's expected that up to 150 new employees will be hired to work out of the Muskegon office over the next five years, said Playford, who has lived in Norton Shores for about a year. They will include medical clinicians such as registered nurses, project managers, sales people, customer service/technical support specialists, and monitoring technicians who will be communicating with patients via video feed.

That patient monitoring, which will be conducted 24 hours a day seven days a week, currently is done inside hospitals, but some have expressed a desire for AvaSys to provide the service, Playford said.

The building, which Muskegon Public Schools closed in 2012 after 100 years of operating as a school, also will house research and development for AvaSys and most likely other community organizations, he said. Playford has been involved with the Muskegon Innovation Hub, operated by Grand Valley State University, that he said he would like to complement with business incubator space.

Playford plans to have AvaSys business operations underway by next year, but first needs to invest a "significant" amount of money on such building upgrades as a new roof, fire suppression system and new heating and cooling, he said.

"It's going to need a lot of money to bring that building back," he said. "It's not inexpensive."

He said he first eyed the school building five years ago when visiting his brother, but at that time didn't have the resources to utilize it.

"Now I do," he said, adding that that he is working with the school district to acquire the building.

The school building is nestled in the Nims Neighborhood, which has constructed a small playground on one corner of the property. Community gardens and playfields also are on the property, which AvaSure intends to keep open to the public.