Arts & Entertainment, Construction, and Education

College completes $20M performing arts center project

August 24, 2017
Text Size:
GVSU Center for Performing Arts
The Grand Valley State University Thomas J. and Marcia J. Haas Center for Performing Arts is located at the school's Allendale campus. Courtesy GVSU

A local college has completed a $20-million renovation and expansion of its 46-year-old performing arts center, creating more flexible-use spaces for students and faculty.

Grand Valley State University will re-open the center at its Allendale campus tomorrow, after renovating the lobby and two of its entrances and constructing a two-story, 47,000-square-foot addition on the east side of the building, which is now 114,608 square feet.

The university re-named the remodeled facility the Thomas J. and Marcia J. Haas Center for Performing Arts, in honor of the school’s current “president and first lady.”

Construction began in May 2016 on the center, which was built in 1971 and most recently renovated in 1998.

Core uses

The center houses the GVSU’s music, music education, theater and dance programs.

It is also home to extracurricular ensembles, such as the 220-member Laker Marching Band and various vocal ensembles, and houses Louis Armstrong Theatre and 200 pieces of art from the university’s collection.

A new “salon-style” display, which includes art that is stacked two- to four-layers high, will be a focal point of the main lobby. It will display works from the GVSU’s permanent art collection of more than 15,000 works acquired over the past 20 years, including paintings, prints, photography, folk art and sculpture.

Firms on the project

The Berkley office of Stantec, a global firm, served as the project’s architect, engineer and interior designer, and Grand Rapids-based Pioneer Construction was the contractor.


The project was funded from interest earned on the university’s savings.


  • Conference room on the second floor
  • Linn Maxwell Keller Black Box Theater, designed to seat up to 150
  • Large practice room to support the theatrical program (for performances in the Black Box or the existing Louis Armstrong Theatre facility)
  • Four ensemble rooms, one on the first floor for the percussion, three on the second floor for other instrument sections
  • Classroom for students who plan to teach in early childhood arts systems
  • Classroom for costume design and fabrication
  • Support space and labs for the costume classroom
  • Three costume and theatrical set storage rooms
  • Theater support spaces, including new dressing rooms, costume and prop storage spaces
  • Expanded lobby that will serve as a student study space during non-event times and provide space to display art
  • Two new restrooms, plus three single-user restrooms
  • Two dance floors replaced
  • Mechanical systems in portions of the existing building replaced
  • Two entrances upgraded to improve accessibility for people with disabilities
  • A space for nursing mothers
  • Seven faculty offices
  • Elevator serving lower, Black Box Theater lobby, and first and second floors
  • A furnished patio area
  • Storm water management system
  • Designed and constructed to eventually achieve LEED Silver certification


Grand Valley State University’s main campus is situated on 1,322 acres in Allendale.

Classes also are offered at the university’s Robert C. Pew campus in downtown Grand Rapids and Meijer campus in Holland.

GVSU, founded in 1960, offers 88 undergraduate degrees and 37 graduate degrees.

Recent Articles by Rachel Watson

Editor's Picks

Comments powered by Disqus