Hope Pushes Ahead On Pair Of Projects

May 20, 2002
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HOLLAND — Hope College wants to begin construction next year on two major projects funded through an $85 million capital campaign designed to finance the expansion and development of facilities and boost the school’s endowment.

As the college plans for the expansion of the Peale Science Center and development of the new Martha Miller Center, efforts continue to shore up financial support for a $20 million, 3,500-seat sports arena Hope wants to develop to the east of downtown Holland and finance through a separate fund-raising drive.

The earliest the DeVos Fieldhouse would open is the fall of 2004, and that’s under a “best case scenario,” Hope President James Bultman said.

To date, Hope has received millions in pledges and contributions to support all of the initiatives, Bultman said.

“The community is very interested in having these come to fruition and so are we,” Bultman said following an address at the Holland Area Chamber of Commerce’s Dec. 4 Early Bird Breakfast.

Hope College so far has raised $64 million of its $85 million “Legacies: A Vision of Hope” capital campaign goal.

Pledges and donations to renovate and expand the Peale Science Center total about half of the project’s $36 million cost, Bultman said. The college will decide in the coming weeks when to proceed on the project.

He’d like to see the project start in the spring of 2002, although funding will drive the timeframe.

“We will face major decisions on whether or not we will proceed, given the level of funding we have,” Bultman said.

Hope has raised about half of what it needs for the development of the $8 million Martha Miller Center to house the college’s dance, communications and languages departments. Construction on the center is targeted to begin later in 2002. Improvements to other college facilities such as the Dow Center, Dimnent Chapel and Lubbers Hall and Graves Hall would come later.

Another $30 million from the Legacies campaign would go toward Hope’s endowment fund.

On the sports arena, Hope has netted pledges and contributions totaling about two-thirds of what it needs. The college is seeking to match a $7.5 million grant received last April from the Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation to help pay for the new arena. Hope has received an additional $3 million for an endowment fund to pay for the arena’s maintenance.

Hope has two major requests pending for donations that would enable the college to reach its goal for the arena. Decisions on the donation requests are expected by the end of the year or in early 2002.

“We’re hopeful that a couple of major donations will be helpful,” Bultman said.

Hope recently signed an agreement to acquire The Western Foundry Co. property on east Eighth Street for the new arena. The college also hopes to acquire the City of Holland’s street department site, combine it with the foundry land and residential properties it already owns, to create a 20-acre parcel for the arena.

The Western Foundry site, as well as the city property, were once considered for a sports and entertainment complex proposed in the 1990s.

“We hope some day in the near future there will be a major facility there that will make Hope College proud and the community proud,” Bultman said.           

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