Architecture & Design, Construction, and Government

Firm's $1.1M renovation covers veterans

November 28, 2013
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Veterans Home Overhang
A 7,000-square-foot canopy hangs over the entrance to the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans. Courtesy Orion Construction

A recent ceremony marked the end of a much-needed project that will help a deserving group and their family members.

"Safe entryway"

Grand Rapids-based Orion Construction recently finished a large renovation of the main entrance to the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans, at 3000 Monroe Ave. NE.

The $1.1-million project added a new exterior vestibule to the entrance, installed 15,000 square feet of new sidewalk that contains a snowmelt system and constructed a 7,000-square-foot canopy that leads to the home’s front door.

“The renovation gave Orion an opportunity to enhance the functionality, the beautification and the value of the building," said John Boonstra, co-founder of Orion and principal-in-charge of the firm. "The project team was able to complete a large-scale renovation of an existing area at the home that now allows for safer, more dignified transport of the veterans."

In addition to Boonstra, John Sheperd and Troy Kuiper, both of Orion, directed the project.

The work began last May and was supervised by the state’s Department of Military Affairs. 

M.C. Smith Associates and Architectural Group designed the work, which also upgraded the home’s landscaping.

“Prior to this renovation, there was no canopy to protect from the weather," Boonstra said. "By installing sidewalk snowmelt systems and a canopy roof, we’ve created a welcoming and safe entryway that reflects the care and respect that go into the home for veterans."

Canopy idea

Grand Rapids Home for Veterans Administrator Sara Dunne credited Maxine "Mikki" Stevens with the idea of adding the large canopy.

Her husband, Leonard, lived at the home, and she visited him and other residents frequently.

“While caring for Leonard and volunteering at the home, Mikki noticed the need for a larger outdoor canopy at the home’s entrance to protect members and visitors from the weather while waiting for transportation to and from community events, medical appointments and family gatherings,” Dunne said.

“Mikki dedicated her life to caring for others, and this legacy of caring extended through to her last wish: to help make certain the veterans who live at the Grand Rapids home had the protection of a new larger canopy,” added Dunne.

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