Arts & Entertainment, Nonprofits, and Real Estate

Nonprofit plans $2.4M makeover of downtown building

May 23, 2016
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Sweet music: St. Cecilia's celebrates 130 years
The nonprofit St. Cecilia Music Center in downtown Grand Rapids features the 630-seat Royce Auditorium.

A historic building located downtown will undergo a makeover this summer.

St. Cecilia Music Center, or SCMC, said today that its Grand Rapids home on the corner of Ransom and Fulton streets, which was built in 1894, will receive a $2.4-million renovation as part of the nonprofit’s $5.5-million Music Lives Here campaign.

The renovations are scheduled to take place over the summer and conclude in October.

A public open house will be scheduled in the late fall, and a grand re-opening gala on Nov. 3 will help cap off the campaign.

The renovation project will feature a number of updates throughout the building: new seating in Royce Auditorium; new roof; installation of professional sound and lighting systems for Royce Auditorium; remodeling of lower-level administrative offices and rehearsal spaces; upgraded HVAC equipment; safety and security upgrades; ADA upgrades; remodeling of the lobby and box office; upgraded energy-efficient lighting; new furniture and fixtures; new flooring; bathroom upgrades; the addition of music and equipment storage; a refresh of the entire building through refurbished finishes; and new signage.

“We just keeping getting stronger, making a profound mark on music appreciation within our great community and offering world-class music in our first-class facility,” said Cathy Holbrook, executive director, SCMC.

Fundraising campaign 

SCMC leadership launched the Music Lives Here campaign to provide much-needed improvements and upgrades to the building, sustainability through endowment and expanded program funding.

The SCMC board has set a campaign goal for endowment funds of $3 million to help sustain the organization on an annual basis. Catalyst funding is being collected to allow for expanded programming in the near future.

To date, SCMC has raised $4 million of the $5.5-million goal.

SCMC received early and substantial funding from the late Peter M. Wege, with a $1-million bequest that helped launch the campaign.

Early adopters for the campaign also include The Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation, The Meijer Foundation, Chuck Royce and Stella Royce, The Kate Pew Wolters Foundation, The Peter and Emajean Cook Foundation and Frey Foundation.


SCMC has been in continuous operation as a music center for the past 122 years.

It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is home to various performers, including jazz artists, chamber musicians from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and touring folk musicians in a series that partners with the nationally syndicated “Acoustic Café” radio show.

It also houses all of SCMC’s School of Music activities and is rented for community events.

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