When architect William Fyfe unveiled his plan for Calvin’s Knollcrest campus in 1959, he imagined a semi-cloistered campus perfect for rigorous learning and scholarly engagement. His vision created a campus that made people feel comfortable and safe. A place where people could thrive as they study, live and learn.
Today, Calvin College presents a new campus master plan that imagines the kind of spaces students need to prepare for life and work in a global, interconnected world:
The year Calvin's first master plan for its Knollcrest campus was completed.
The year Calvin College completed its transition to its current location in southeast Grand Rapids.
Acres on Calvin's campus.
Acres on campus that comprise the Calvin Ecosystem Preserve & Native Gardens.
Calvin College was founded in 1876 as a theological seminary. It settled on a campus in 1917 at Franklin Street in Grand Rapids’ Eastown neighborhood. Space limitations spurred the purchase of the Knollcrest Campus in the 1950s. In 1959, the college developed a master plan aimed at taking care of students, supporting campus leadership and being a good neighbor to the community. The college completed its transition to the Knollcrest Campus in 1973.
To develop the final campus master plan, a rigorous planning process engaged Calvin faculty, students, staff, alumni and friends in six phases. Through this process, these values emerged as framing principles for each new building or development project:
Before exploring campus plan specifics, it is helpful to understand the eight overarching strategies developed to guide future projects. See these ideas come to life in the maps below:
This plan for renewing Calvin’s campus is a 20-year vision intended to guide the development of buildings and grounds.
Our space needs summary reveals that one of the greatest needs across campus is for dining, assembly, exhibit and student center spaces such as lounge and activity areas. The proposed Calvin Crossing (working title) will be a campus crossroads strengthening the east-west connection across East Beltline by providing continuous flow between the DeVos Center, the Covenant Fine Arts Center and the Hekman Library. This creates an opportunity for the Calvin Crossing (working title) to become a hub of the Calvin student experience, integrating academics, faith and student life in an activity-filled atmosphere.
At 60,000 gross square feet, the new building will include a variety of active spaces that will draw students, faculty, staff and visitors together in this all-inclusive, active building.
Program elements include:
Learning in 2015 is rapidly changing from a teacher-centric information delivery approach to student-centered collaborative learning enhanced by technology. Currently, very few of Calvin’s classrooms are configured well for this type of learning. Comprehensive renovations and furniture replacement will substantially improve teaching and promote a student-centered learning environment.
Dining is a key part of the student experience. Our space needs summary identified food service as the largest space deficit on campus. The existing Dining Commons has aging equipment and is overcrowded and outdated. The master plan recommends improvements to the building in conjunction with the proposed Calvin Crossing (working title) building. In fall 2016, upper ground-level dining and serving areas will be renovated. Renovations to the building entries, loading dock, building systems, mezzanine and lower level will start after the Calvin Crossing (working title) is completed. Once these renovations are finished, the Commons Annex will be razed, and the commons lawn will be expanded.
This part of the plan calls for the renovation of existing classrooms, faculty offices and academic-support spaces combined with the introduction of new academic spaces at DeVos Communications Center.
Addtional transformative projects to be realized within the next 10 years based on donor support and college priorities.
Residence Hall Projects
To improve the sense of community in residence halls, student lounges will be added on each floor. Existing basement lounges will be improved, and communal kitchens and dining areas will be added to create building-wide gathering spaces. The plan also calls for the construction of a new 150- to 180-bed residence hall east of East Beltline.
Knollcrest East Opportunity
Long-term redevelopment plans include a multi-use village that would add more residence space and allow Calvin to partner with private developers and the adjacent seminary. A three-phase approach would allow Calvin to preserve housing and parking capacity during the building project.