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GRAND RAPIDS, MI-The Calvin College board of trustees has approved a major expansion of the college’s physical education and athletic facilities. The biggest building project in the school’s history, it is projected to cost $35 million.

The largest component of the five-part plan is construction of a new 175,000-sf, 5,000-seat arena for athletics and other events. There will also be a new 62,000-sf indoor track and tennis center, which can also be used for all indoor court sports; a new aquatics center with a 50-meter-by-25-yard pool; a 6,000-sf student health center containing exam rooms and lab and administrative offices and significant renovation of the existing Calvin Fieldhouse.

The new arena will replace the fieldhouse, which was built in 1965. The existing fieldhouse will be converted into a multi-purpose facility with several playing courts, offices, classrooms and space for dance activities. The existing on-campus health center, now housed in 2,000-sf in the basement of a residence hall, will also relocate to 6,000 sf in the renovated fieldhouse.

Calvin architect Frank Gorman is designing the project, working with Holland, MI-based GMB and DeMoines-based RDG, both of which specialize in athletic complexes. “Funding depends on private donations,” a Calvin spokesman tells GlobeSt.com, “and a significant portion has already been raised.”

Glenn VanAndel, former chair of the health, physical education, recreation, dance and sport department, co-chaired the committee that planned the project. It is expected to break ground in spring 2007 and be ready for use in fall 2008. “The new buildings and renovations will come not a moment too soon for the department,” VanAndel says in a statement.

Nearly 200 students are enrolled in the HPERDS department, which also runs an intramurals program that had 2,644 participants in 2005. The Calvin spokesman says the college has an enrollment of 4,200 undergraduates.

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