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News & Stories: 2009-10

Students adjust to FAC construction
September 25, 2009

This summer, the Calvin Fine Arts Center (FAC) was gutted and prepared for its year-long makeover. The facility, which will be renamed the Covenant Fine Arts Center, is scheduled for completion by fall 2010.

No parking sign near FAC construction"It's fun to see it finally happen,” said Calvin's vice president for administration, finance, and information services Henry DeVries.

Movement constricted

Though the prospect of another new facility is exciting, some students are nervous about the adjustments they will be required to make to their daily travel routines. Movement around campus will be constricted once again, just months after completion of the large renovations made to the new Spoelhof Fieldhouse Complex.

For instance, commuter students wonder how the loss of all parking spots bordering the FAC, approximately half of the available spots in the parking lot, will affect their ability to park on campus. "If students have 8 a.m. [classes], it'll be easy because not everyone who commutes has 8 a.m.s," explained Laura Kamper, a sophomore commuter student. She feels that the earlier her classes, the better her chances are to grab a coveted parking spot near the center of campus. "On days where I don't have 8 a.m.s, I almost feel like the FAC [lot] just isn't worth it," Kamper said.

DeVries said that the new parking lot adjacent to the fieldhouse will alleviate some congestion, while the Spoelhof and DeVos parking lots should be able to sustain the demand for student parking. This should be the extent of "navigational adjustments,” he said.

DeVries also explained that the FAC construction workers are required to park next to the Prince Conference Center across the Beltline. "So if you see a guy walking across the bridge with bag of tools, now you know why," he said.

Music in the basement

But parking isn't the only concern for the FAC construction. Students taking English and music will find the destinations for their classes spread out this year. "I'm so used to where my professors' offices, the [music] practice rooms and all my classes are," says Katie Broekhuizen, a junior music student. "Now it just seems like they're so spread out." The English and music departments, typically based in the FAC, have had to find new places on campus to operate. The English department has been relocated to the surge building across the East Beltline, and music practice rooms have been set up in the basement of Timmer Residential Hall.

For students like Broekhuizen, the temporary loss of the FAC will cause a variety of inconveniences. Relocation of classes, lack of quality in temporary musical equipment, and the loss of familiarity with new facilities all affect how students will manage this year. "That's my home!" says Katie, "It’s like I know that building, and it's gone."

However, Broekhuizen is grateful that her final undergraduate memories of the FAC will be of the new facility: "The new building is going to be awesome and have a lot of cool stuff," she said.

Many venues

A variety of venues throughout Grand Rapids will be used for the events normally held in the Fine Arts Center auditorium. East Grand Rapids and Grand Rapids Christian high schools have offered up their auditoriums for certain events. The Ladies Literary Club, a downtown Calvin venue, will continue to host performances off campus. The gymnasium of the Hoogenboom Health and Recreation Center and the Lab Theatre will also host some events.

While the FAC will be completed next fall, there are already plans and talk of the next projects on campus. Tentatively, the next two buildings scheduled for a makeover are North Hall, which may receive a fourth floor to accommodate the expanding separate Business and Economics departments, and the Commons and Commons Annex, which will be converted into a full-fledged Student Union. "There's a couple more years of fund raising to be done," said DeVries. "But yes, I'm excited."

~by Cloud Cray, communications and marketing

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More on the FAC

• Go inside the Fine Arts Center construction project.

Watch the video »

• See plans for the new Covenant Fine Arts Center.

• See what's happening at the FAC right now.

Go to the live Webcam »

Browse pictures of the FAC renovation »