Van Reken Hall  (pronounced ‘van-REEK-en’), is named after the van Reken family, whose legacy of support for students whose parents are missionaries has aided hundreds of Calvin students over the years.

  • The building as a whole

    The Kalsbeek-Huizenga site was chosen after careful consideration of various issues, including

    • available land
    • the impact of construction on the adjacent ecosystem
    • accessibility of the building to which this hall would be attached

    Design and construction plans included environmental and sustainability issues, including:

    • improved windows
    • efficient lighting
    • carpet made of recycled materials
    • adjustable heat levels in each room
    • trees and native plants

    One of the suites on the first floor is equipped with a geothermal system that will record heating and cooling data, which is compared to one other residence hall. The monitoring information is visible on a kiosk in the van Reken lobby. The purpose is to see differences and look for improvements in windows, walls and cooling systems between the traditional system used in our other residence halls with the new geothermal van Reken hall. This is made possible because of a senior design project from Calvin engineering students and will be a source of research for their future classes.

    There are multiple ways to enter van Reken hall. 

    • A main exterior entrance is located on the east side of the building, a short walk from the main entrance to the front lobby of the residence hall. 
    • There is also a side entrance on the west side, where van Reken Hall attaches to Kalsbeek Hall. This entrance will be convenient for students returning from the parking lot. Since mailboxes and front desk services will be located in the front lobby of the complex, students can also enter this entrance and then walk down a Kalsbeek floor (or basement level) to the north stairwell of Kalsbeek and then to their floor in van Reken.

    The basement of van Reken is not built out yet, but those plans will be made in future years. Full access to the Kalsbeek and Huizenga basements is available, however.

    Many trees and native plantings have been planted around the building, including in the "V" of the building.

  • The rooms

    The rooms are roughly the same square footage as every other residence hall room, though the bathroom and closets are laid out differently. Extra storage in the bathrooms is a big plus.

    The room is equipped with air-conditioning, though you won’t need it most of the year (it’s primary use will be for summer programs that may be located in this new wing). The AC for the entire suite will be controlled by one thermostat in the closet, so it's important for suitemates to communicate well about when to use it.

    Heat for the room, useful for much of the school year, will come from the register under the window. Unlike in older residence halls, vR residents are able to control the amount of heat for their individual room by rotating the knob on the register to the desired setting.

    Although both windows have a handle, only the one with the screen actually opens (so don't break the other one trying to open it!).

    Due to updated fire code regulations, each room door is self-closing. When you’re present in a room, however, you may prop the door open if you wish.

  • The floor

    The floors of van Reken hall were designed with a central lounge, including a gas fireplace, and two separate hallways branching from this lounge. This design gives us flexibility in using half of the floor for men and half for women. Residents share the lounge and floor kitchen, but access to each other’s wings is limited by open house hours, as on all other floors. Each floor (roughly 40 students total, just like every other floor on campus) will be served by both a male and a female RA.

    Each floor has recycling collection bins in the floor kitchen.  Speaking of the floor kitchen, updated fire codes prevented the installation of stoves, but a number of other appliances will be provided, such as microwave ovens, electric griddles, etc.

    Each floor has a specific focus or theme. Students who apply to live here are motivated by the theme—they want to go deeper, but in a more casual and integrated way than a normal class. While the floors have unique aspects of intentionality, they also have all the elements of traditional residence hall living on-campus. As part of the Kalsbeek-Huizenga-van Reken residence hall, you’ll be part of a bigger community as well as part of a smaller focused floor.

  • Van Reken Sustainable Design
    • Site design attributes such as:
      • no expansion of parking surfaces
      • opportunities for alternative transportation, such as bicycles
      • maximized open space
      • integrated storm water management
      • heat reflective roof
      • reduced light pollution
    • Water efficient landscaping
    • Water use reduction
    • Improved building energy performance (11%)
      • increased thickness of roof insulation
      • energy efficient windows
      • exterior wall insulation
      • heat reflective white roof
    • Construction waste management
      • separation of construction waste
      • recycling of specific types of construction waste
    • Materials with recycled content
    • Regionally provided materials
      • locally provided brick and concrete block
      • regionally provided precast concrete plank
    • Natural ventilation
    • Daylight views in 90% of building spaces
    • Sustainable design innovations:
      • forestry rehabilitation (Calvin biology dept.)
      • geothermal test suite (engineering design project)

Unfortunately, we learned during the development of this project that the LEED sustainability requirements had changed. The new Requirements (LEED v2.2) included a requirement of at least two points in the Energy and Atmosphere Credit to Optimize Energy performance. This meant a minimum Energy Performance improvement of 14%. Given the restrictive nature of the design intending to be similar to the existing dorms, the improvements could only reach an 11% improvement, not achieving the 14% threshold.