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Calvin College Chimes

Students share views on planned Calvin renovations

Projected+20-year+plan+imagines+what+the+new+renovation+could+look+like.+Photo+courtesy+Calvin+College.
Projected 20-year plan imagines what the new renovation could look like. Photo courtesy Calvin College.

Projected 20-year plan imagines what the new renovation could look like. Photo courtesy Calvin College.

Projected 20-year plan imagines what the new renovation could look like. Photo courtesy Calvin College.

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Calvin is currently in the process of implementing its “master plan.” The master plan appears in a booklet by the Campus Master Plan Steering Committee that presents Calvin College’s renovation plans over the course of the next twenty years, according to the introductory letter from President Michael Le Roy.

The 2015 master plan is modeled after the first Calvin College master plan, revealed in 1959. While the master plan provides detail for a variety of renovations, it sets apart three renovations as the most immediate needs: Calvin Crossing, comprehensive classroom renovations and a renovation of Commons Dining Hall.

Amongst students, Calvin Crossing is one of the most talked-about projects.

The Calvin Crossing project, according to the master plan, is going to “be a campus crossroads strengthening the east-wing connection across East Beltline Avenue, integrating academics, faith and student life.” The site will provide a variety of functions that can be found in the master plan. It will connect Hiemenga Hall, the CFAC and the bridge to the DeVos Communication Center.

Derek Vos, a biochemistry major on 1st VanderWerp, said concerning the crossing, “I don’t see the purpose of connecting the buildings. It may seem cool, but I just don’t see the point. It doesn’t really have a purpose.” Vos understands the major project to be more about appearance than use or convenience.

Vos expressed that he would rather see the dorm basements renovated because they are more accessible and practical to his experience at Calvin. While Vos may not be at Calvin to see these changes, residence hall modernization is one of Calvin’s long-term priorities, to be completed within the next four to 18 years.

However, Andrew Gilbert, a film major and student employee at Commons Dining Hall, had a more positive opinion on the crossing. Andrew, who has had many classes in DeVos, thinks Calvin Crossing will make his long walks to DeVos in the winter more enjoyable. Kiley Elgersma, a junior who lives in KE apartments and has to walk to Spoelhof for class, agrees with Andrew that building Calvin Crossing will improve future KE residents’ experiences, since they will not have to be frigid during their morning routine.

While many students are fond of the projects in the master plan, a few students voiced concern for Calvin’s debt situation. Jay DeBoer, VanderWerp’s vice president, said, “I think it’s a great idea that Calvin wants to renovate and improve the aesthetics of campus to encourage new students to come, however I think Calvin has a responsibility to take care of the current debt.”

Calvin administrators, however, have clarified to Chimes that the debt crisis is under control.

“That chapter is closed,” said Provost Cheryl Brandsen. “We had a debt of 115 million dollars, and we got that down to 78 million, which was the goal.”

Since the renewed master plan has been announced, the Commons renovation has been the only completed project out of the three most immediate needs. Andrew Gilbert, who works at the renovated building, said that before the renovation Commons was very outdated and that “the seating options are my favorite part of the renovation.” Gilbert is fond of the seemingly new Commons.

The improvements under the master plan will also allot more space to STEM classes, entail a renovation for the Hekman Library and make improvements for pedestrian paths.

These projects can all be found in greater detail on Calvin’s website.

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