July 12, 2002
Prince Conference Center
The new Prince Conference Center at Calvin College is out to change the way people think about staying on a college campus say Kim Stanton, sales manager, and Justin Jackson, hotel manager.
Both Stanton and Jackson worked previously for the Haworth Center in Holland. Now they're getting ready for the opening in October of Calvin's new facility which will feature not only numerous conference, meeting and dining areas, but also 66 hotel-style, air-conditioned guest rooms and three spacious suites. Room amenities will include king or queen sized beds, cable TV, high-speed internet acess, free local calls and complimentary deluxe continental breakfast, plus access to other perks such as an on-site fitness center and the Prince Center Library which will be stocked with a variety of books and magazines.
In addition the setting for the Prince Conference Center will offer its guests both the excitement of a college campus and the tranquility of a retreat. The Center is a short walk from the main Calvin campus, via the new Calvin's Crossing which traverses the East Beltline. There guests can take in concerts, sporting events, lectures and more. And just a mile away is 28th Street, complete with its malls, restaurants, theaters and more. But the Center is also tucked in right by the Calvin Ecosystem Preserve, a 90-acre setting that includes woods, wetlands and a series of trails through the Preserve. In fact much of the Conference Center overlooks the Preserve.
Stanton thinks the new facility will become a popular spot for conferences, sales meetings, social celebrations and more.
"I think we have the best of both worlds," she says. "We're on a college campus, with all that has to offer, but we have a hotel-style facility. And the location is close to everything: downtown, 28th Street, the airport. Plus the (Ecosystem) Preserve is just a gem. We can't wait to start hosting people."
The Prince Conference Center is actually two buildings connected by an atrium. One building holds meeting spaces, including a room with seating for up to 400 people, several others for 80-100 people and also smaller rooms for groups from 20-50. The other building is the lodging facility with 69 guest rooms.
Calvin will hold a dedication service for the Prince Conference Center and the DeVos Communcation Center on October 25-26. The two new buildings are being funded by the two largest gifts in the history of Calvin College. Both the Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation and the Edgar and Elsa Prince Foundation committed $10 million to the projects for a total of $20 million.
"The DeVos and Prince families are long-time supporters of Christian education," said Calvin College president Dr. Gaylen Byker at the time of the gift (July 1998). "Their support of these two new ventures means a great deal to all of us at Calvin. We are very grateful."
Elsa Prince is a 1954 Calvin graduate. Richard DeVos is a 1947 Calvin alum and winner of the school's 1982 Distinguished Alumni Award. His wife Helen is a 1947 Calvin graduate.
DeVos Communication Arts & Science (left) and Prince Conference Center (right)